AFA NEWS: Space Force Contemplates New Moving Target Sensor

By Josh Luckenbaugh

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The Space Force has made progress on developing a multi-domain moving target indicator, the chief of space operations said Sept. 21.

Moving target indicators are sensors that use Doppler frequencies to distinguish moving objects from stationary ones. One of the seven operational imperatives Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall has outlined for the Air and Space Forces is “achieving moving target engagement at scale in a challenging operational environment.”

The Air Force currently operates the airborne E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System. Over the last year, the Space Force has explored the viability of developing its own moving target indicator system, Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond said during a roundtable discussion at the Air and Space Forces Association’s annual Air, Space and Cyber Conference at National Harbor, Maryland.

“The Air Force has a JSTARS aircraft and was looking for a multi-domain solution for that,” Raymond said. “We have just completed the [analysis of alternatives] on that work to determine how best to do that from a multi-domain perspective.”

The Space Force is “in the process of out-briefing” the results of that analysis, he said, but did not provide a specific timeframe for fielding a system, if called upon.

Raymond credited Kendall’s operational imperatives as a key factor in the progress on this and other projects.

“I think it has been very valuable to the department,” Raymond said. “I think it has provided us focus. I think it has provided us a sense of urgency to meet these imperatives. I think it has allowed us to increase our analytical game … to have the analysis that support those imperatives.”

The service is working closely with the intelligence community to develop requirements and ensure U.S. surveillance capabilities are maximized, Raymond added.

“I think the thing that has driven us together so much is the threat … we both operate in the same domain,” he said. “What we're now exploring with the intelligence community is … on the [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] front.

“Traditionally that has been a [National Reconnaissance Office] … business area, and we've done other things like GPS and missile warning … We don’t want to duplicate capabilities. We don't want to waste dollars. We want to move at speed.”

Topics: Space

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