Coalition Aerial Surveillance and Reconnaissance Project

Article excerpt

Seven NATO nations are in the process of defining a project to work together to develop and improve their ability to detect and track vehicles on or near the ground with radar sensors. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States have initiated the coalition aerial surveillance and reconnaissance (CAESAR) project in an effort to bring together and enhance existing and developing capabilities for ground surveillance. Initial planning sessions for the project began in January 2001.

The goals of the CAESAR project are to develop the concept of operations, tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) and the technology that will allow efficient and effective use of ground surveillance sensor platforms in a coalition environment. The project aims to develop a capability to maximize the military utility of scarce and expensive ground surveillance resources through the development of operational and technical means that enhance interoperability.

The project will demonstrate the capabilities for synergy using multiple sensors from the CAESAR nations, using a combination of simulation and live fly exercises. The first exercise that will be supported by the project is North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) Clean Hunter 2001, which took place in June 2001. Development efforts are focused inside government and industry facilities in the participating countries with all nations coming together for exercises and experiments.

Fielded systems such as the U.S. Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) and the French Helicopter (HORIZON) produce this data, called moving target indicator (MTI) reports and synthetic aperture radar images in near real time. In addition to Joint STARS and HORIZON, the CAESAR project will develop interoperability with the Italian CRESO, the U.K. Airborne Stand Off Radar (ASTOR), the French ground-based radar Rapsodie, and the U.S. Global Hawk, U-2, and Predator in MTI modes. In addition, numerous ground based exploitation capabilities will be part of the exercise and integration work. Systems such as the Norwegian mobile tactical operations centre, the French SAIM, a German Exploitation Workstation, and U.S. systems such as the common ground system, joint services work station, multiple hypothesis tracker, and the moving target indicator exploitation workstation will be part of the effort. Canada will demonstrate the utility of space based GMTI platforms to complement CAESAR coalition assets.

The CAESAR project came about as the result of ongoing efforts by the seven nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Consultation, Command and Control Agency, under the sponsorship of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, to foster interoperability of national ground surveillance systems and to promote integration of the data from these systems into NATO command and control systems. Since 1995, nations have been working to develop greater interoperability between ground surveillance systems at the NATO alliance ground surveillance (AGS) capability test bed (NACT) at NC3A, in The Hague, Netherlands. These efforts led to the development of a data format that allows systems from the seven nations to share and exploit data about moving and stationary targets. …