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Explanation of JSTARS (Re: Spring Thunder article)

From: (Glenn Campbell, Las Vegas)
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 13:38:02 -0800
Subject: Explanation of JSTARS (Re: Spring Thunder article)

[Re: previous "Spring Thunder" message found at]

From: [Withheld by request]
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 14:04:00
Subject: JSTARS

You asked for a translation, so...

Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System is also called JSTARS;
it's a really whiz-bang down-looking radar intended to follow ground
traffic like cars, trucks and tanks. It creates a giant map with
something on the order of a 100+ mile radius of every large metal
moving object on the ground--it was developed in Phoenix and Motorola
was the lead contractor. JSTARS can also watch aircraft, too, at least
the close-to-ground helicopter/bomber stuff. It just has to be below
the JSTARS plane, which can (and in this case is) be a E-8C aircraft.

JSTARS has two elements--the air element that's the radar, and a
"terminal" element that can be on the ground, air, or sea. Small
terminals fit in humvees. They basically display the real-time radar
data with a map to show where everything is.

The U.S. Army's Advanced Warfighting Experiment is a test for new
technology using what they're calling sensor fusion. The military is
trying to combine the sensors from different weapons systems and
between service branches to create a real-time 3D database of forces
and targets. The idea is that with sensor fusion, it will be
impossible for the enemy to hide, and that multiple weapons systems
can target the enemy; the closest system with the best chance of
destroying the target gets assigned the task. So it's possible (though
not likely) that an enemy tank a 1/2 mile away from our army ground
forces would be taken out with naval artillery or an air force missile
once it's designated as a target by someone. Anyway, JSTARS provides
*lots* of battle management data.

The go-to-war plan is what a unit does to get into battle. It's sort
of a checklist for packing up and moving out. "Standing up" means
going into service, and "standing down" means leaving service, so the
93rd ACW went into service on 1/29/1996. After a war, lots of units
stand down; sometimes units stand down for maintenance (unavailable to
fight a war) and sometimes they're just plain gotten rid of (the
build-down of the forces going on right now, for example.)

Just FYI, Operation Alliance is a organization of joint-task-force-six
(JTF-6) of the sixth army that handles things out west (AZ, NV, CA, NM
TX). OA provides military support to civilian law enforcement,
including JSTARS. I wouldn't be surprised at all if you've had JSTARS
operational near Area 51 to provide surveilance of nearby traffic
during tests. I know that JSTARS is used to provide air support to
customs in my area, giving "targets" to customs or JTF aircraft:
threatening inbound enemy traffic in the form of El Caminos carrying
illegal immigrants as payloads. Once the aircraft ID them, they send
the state police or border patrol in to detain them and send them back
to Mexico. Plug in JTF-6 or Operation Alliance into Alta Vista and be
amazed at what tax dollars (and ignoring the Constitution and posse
comitatus) can do!

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