Skip to comments.JSTARS Detects IED Attacks
Posted on 03/26/2006 6:29:22 AM PST by Cannoneer No. 4
Since early 2005 the US Air Force has been using a new tool in the battle against IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). The US Air Force Joint STARS (JSTARS) E-8 aircraft have been constantly active in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002, and has been doing a lot more than just looking at vehicle traffic on the ground.
Last year JSTARS radar aircraft were used to track down terrorist bombers in Iraq. This is done by using the JSTARS radar to track where the attackers go after an attack. Many of the attacks take place in sparely populated places, and at night. JSTARS can track vehicles on the ground over a wide area. For example, a single JSTARS can cover all of central Iraq, although its ground radar can only track a smaller area. The JSTARS radar has two modes; wide area (showing a 25 by 20 kilometer area) and detailed (4,000 by 5,000 meters). The radar can see out to several hundred kilometers and each screen full of information could be saved and brought back later to compare to another view (to see what has moved). In this manner, operators could track movement of ground units over a wide area. Operators could also use the detail mode to pick out specific details of what's going on down there, like tracking the movement of vehicles fleeing the scene of an ambush. JSTARS is real good at picking up trucks moving along highways on flat terrain. JSTARS can stay up there for over 12 hours at a time, and two or more JSTARS can operate in shifts to provide 24/7 coverage. There has always been at least one JSTARS operating in Iraq.
Now JSTARS is being used to detect potential attacks. The post mission analysis of the collected data during an IED attack provides information about the scheme of maneuver before the attack was launched. These collected movement patterns are used to predict such attacks and therefore protect US troops against their effects. In addition the persistent wide area coverage enables US troops to track down the infrastructure behind those attacks. This information helps to destroy the insurgent networks behind the IED attacks. However, the US Air Force has not released any information about the effectiveness of this new applied tactic over the last year. This is probably because such information could make it easier for the terrorists to deceive the JSTARS.
This is a fairly new approach in the usage of the Joint STARS. The conceptual origin of the system can be found in the Cold War, where the system should provide a detailed ground truth to the NATO military leaders in the case of an attack of the Warsaw Treaty. Until late 2004 the system's operational usage was therefore limited to this real time surveillance role. The Joint STARS saw their first operational engagement during the Iraq War in 1990. Further missions followed over Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and then since 2003 in Iraq again. In all those conflicts Joint STARS was an essential component for the information superiority of the US forces.
I often wonder how well this war would be going if publishers didn't print our military strategies at every opportunity.
You have a point.
ping for later.
With apologies to Cannoneer #4, Old Sarge will not be posting to this thread.
Sarge is currently self-administering stress relief, in the form of bashing his head on the corner of the table, due to the utterly futility of the acronym, "OPSEC".
Sarge will return to duty, once the meds kick in and the work order for the table repair is submitted.
Thank You. We now return to our FReeping already in progress.
What is the MSM for, if not to subvert the American military at every opportunity?
"such information could make it easier for the terrorists to deceive the JSTARS."
You tech-weenies might remember that those terrorists are really out to kill everyone. This "tech-boasting" can easily be used by those bastards.
These aren't ordinary camel jockeys off the "Arab Street".
Greetings No. 4 and thanks for all the pings :-)
It's ok. I just quit the military recently, but was an operator on the JSTARS. StrategyPage gets many of its articles 'mostly' right, but are still a bit inaccurate when it comes to tactics. Closer than the MSM, however.
JSTARS is the bees knees BTW. We were on patrol one night when they were overhead and they saw something suspicious. They directed the QRF right to the spot. They weren't supposed to be scanning that area in particular and it turned out to just be some farmers out working in their fields (Iraqi farmers like to work at night because of the heat), but it impressed me that they had that kind of capability.
. . . which is why we reveal it now." </sarcasm>
As a Grumman employee I had a tangential acquaintance with the program and was proud of the reports of its effectiveness back in Gulf War I. I believe it was General Swartzkopf who said that the Army would never again willingly plan to fight without J-Stars capability.
You're right. That's why I posted this.
"I don't think that many people who post on FR understand that we have a lot of countermeasures against IEDs."
Best countermeasure is still a well-armed, trained infantry-man (or is it infantryperson now?), available in numbers large enough to ensure a higher level of security by their mere presance.
What? You mean we don't have enough of those in the inventory? My bad...
While I'm sure the JSTARS has some utility in this regard, I'd feel better about it if we had some more boots on the gorund.
Deliberate inaccuracy, perhaps?
Thanks. I missed that one back then.
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