Home / Technology / AI & IT / US Army’s Aerial Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (A-ISR) system

US Army’s Aerial Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (A-ISR) system

The “nervous system” of the military, the collection of subsystems used to maximize situational awareness, is referred to as C4ISR—command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The primary objective of a C4ISR system is to present the overall scenario and picture of the area of interest (such as a battlefield, operation area of ships/forces in sea/land/air, or a disaster area, etc.). This allows a clear situational awareness for better decision-making by the mission commanders to achieve their missions. A comprehensive and better situational awareness of the battlefield helps the commander in the making of effective and timely decisions which in turn helps in effective control of the situation through advanced planning and efficient utilization of the available resources.


The I of C4ISR represents Intelligence, i.e. the collecting of information that is required by leaders/commanders to carry out a mission. The information is gathered through intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance which is the reason for the ISR part. The systematic observation of certain things is called surveillance whereas observations on specific occasions is defined as reconnaissance. Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain vital information about enemy forces or features of the environment for later analysis and/or dissemination.


The sources of intelligence are multifaceted that encompass human intelligence (HUMIINT), technical intelligence (TECHINT), signal intelligence (SIGINT), open source intelligence (OSINT), etc—all cumulating into all source intelligence. Land, sea, air and space platforms have critical ISR roles in supporting operations in general. The intelligence data provided by these ISR systems can take many forms, including optical, radar, infrared images or electronic signals. Effective ISR data can provide early warning of enemy threats as well as enable military forces to increase effectiveness, coordination, and lethality, and the demand for ISR capabilities to support ongoing military operations has increased.


The Army’s manned and unmanned Aerial Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (AISR) fleet has historically consisted of a mix of unique single-discipline capabilities that process, exploit, and disseminate the intelligence collected. These legacy systems have been highly effective in a variety of worldwide deployments, but are not adequately adaptable with analytical elements for changing operational environments. Current and emerging threats have demonstrated an ability to take advantage of expanded communications technology, enhanced cover and concealment techniques, and vulnerabilities in traditional sensing capabilities.


Future AISR capabilities must expand on lessons learned in recent conflicts and deliver mobility, endurance, persistent coverage and advanced sensing capabilities while providing tailored and dynamically responsive support to ground maneuver commanders. The Army’s AISR strategy through 2020 is designed to ensure mission success by having the ability to rapidly adapt to changing tactical conditions, while still providing maximum value in a fiscally constrained environment.


AISR Foundational Requirements

Geographic Combatant Commander Urgent Operational Needs in Afghanistan and Iraq resulted in deployment of more than 40 quick reaction capability (QRC) ISR systems that were rapidly acquired or built and deployed as quickly as feasible. These systems included new sophisticated sensors which provided an exponential increase in total collection coverage and demonstrated the value of multi-sensor systems with onboard processing, exploitation, and dissemination (PED) for rapid sensor cross-cue and target confirmation. With the drawdown of forces in U.S. Central Command’s (USCENTCOM) Iraq and Afghanistan areas of responsibility, the Army will divest the majority of those QRC systems, but harvest the investment made in technology in order to transition their unique capabilities into the base force and avoid the cost of procurement of new production systems


The QRC systems were able to help identify gaps documented in the Joint Direct-Support Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (JDSAISR) Initial Capability Document (ICD) and the Counter-Concealment Sensing (CCS) ICD, documents designed to focus the Army on acquiring the capabilities needed for the future. These ICDs are the foundational documents for the Joint Capabilities Integration Development System (JCIDS), the formal U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) procedure which defines acquisition requirements and evaluation criteria for future defense programs. They underpin the overall AISR 2020 strategy (illustrated in Figure 2), which is synchronized with current Defense Planning Guidance and optimized to mitigate operational gaps not satisified by other joint ISR systems.

AISR System Capabilities

Current and future AISR sensing capabilities include:

* Full Motion Video (FMV) camera with High-Definition (HD) Electro-Optic/Infra-Red (EO/IR).

* Wide Area Aerial Surveillance (WAAS) imaging.

* Radar-based Ground and Dismount Moving Target Indicator (GMTI and DMTI).

* Ground and Foliage Penetrating (GPEN and FOPEN) radars.

* Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR) for high-resolution imaging.

* Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) using light waves instead of radar waves.

* Hyper-Spectral Imaging (HSI) that analyzes spectral data reflected or emitted along the electromagnetic spectrum.

* Communications Intelligence (COMINT) intercepts targeting communications.

* Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) collection of radio frequency emanations.

* High-resolution color mapping sensors.



Artemis — or Aerial Reconnaissance and Targeting Exploitation Multi-Mission Intelligence System

Artemis — or Aerial Reconnaissance and Targeting Exploitation Multi-Mission Intelligence System — is one effort among several to assess ISR capabilities for high-speed jets to possibly replace Guardrail, a turboprop aircraft based on the King Air.


The Army awarded a contract to Leidos in November 2019 to build Artemis using a Bombardier Challenger 650 jet. The plane has been assessed in the Indo-Pacific and European theaters and will undergo evaluation over the summer at Defender Europe, a division-sized exercise designed to test the service’s ability to deliver a force from the U.S. to Europe and then to operational areas throughout the continent.


“One of the things we saw, and we know that we’re concerned about with near-peer [adversaries], is we need to look at our sustainment, our ability to move around; so we did see one thing that came out the demonstrations is we can get to where we need to a lot faster,” DeBoer said of Artemis’ previous deployments in both theaters.


“It may take us five to seven days to get a turboprop over to Europe because you have to take the northern route. We just don’t have the legs. And if we’re going to go to Korea, it’s even longer because of the legs on the King Air type,” DeBoer said. “We can’t really make the jump to Korea from Alaska. We have to go the other way.


Since those demonstrations, the Army has upgraded Artemis with better sensors, particularly communications sensors developed for Guardrail with the capabilities to talk over satellites and other direct and more reliable communications.



Airborne Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare System or ARES

US Army has already started the process of introducing new Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) technologies for application in high-altitude environments. Take the case of the US Army’s Aerial Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (A-ISR) system—an air-borne platform, which is also known as the Airborne Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare System (ARES), which recently underwent demonstration tests in the Indo-Pacific (April 2022).


The business jet-based technology demonstrator for Airborne Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare System or ARES, will support real-time intelligence collection and processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED) operations while in the U.S. Army Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility. As a technology demonstrator with an operational mission, the ARES aircraft operates with the required range, endurance and near-peer optimized sensor suite to deliver precision sensing capabilities from extended standoff ranges.


The ARES platform is a contractor-owned, contractor-operated manned aerial –intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (A-ISR) solution managed by the Program Executive Office for Aviation’s Fixed Wing Project Office. The ARES effort will inform future sensor and system requirements for the Multi-Domain Sensing System as a part of the ongoing Campaign of Learning managed by the Army’s ISR Task Force. Real-world data will help the Army to precisely allocate sensor and platform investments for future High Accuracy Detection and Exploitation System (HADES) Program of Record.


CACI Awarded $80 Million Task Order with the U.S. Army to Provide Aerial Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance

CACI International Inc  has been awarded a new task order worth approximately $80 million to provide mission expertise to the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) and the 116th Military Intelligence Brigade (MIB) in support of the Army’s Solutions for Intelligence Analysis 3 (SIA-3) effort. Under the task order, CACI will offer tactical intelligence and analytical expertise to assist in the ever-changing landscape of the Army’s aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.


Under this task order, CACI will serve as a force multiplier by directly assisting the warfighter with technical, functional, and general support to gather geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) and signals intelligence (SIGINT) in support of INSCOM and the 116th MIB.


References and Resources also include:





About Rajesh Uppal

Check Also

Unleashing the Power of Personal AI: A Paradigm Shift in Customized Language Models

The relentless march of technology has thrown open the doors to a new chapter in …

error: Content is protected !!