U.S. ARMY/INDUSTRY ROLL OUT NEXT GENERATION SIGINT SYSTEM
By Scott R. Gourley
12 Jun 02. U.S. Army and industry representatives held official “Roll Out” ceremonies on 12 June 2002, marking initial delivery of production models of the “Prophet Block I” signals intelligence (SIGINT) system.
Billed as “a significant step in its transformation to the
Objective Force,” the roll out marked the U.S. Army’s
fielding of the first new ground tactical SIGINT sensor
system in more than two decades. In a clear indication of the political considerations surrounding all new acquisition activities, the roll out event shunned more traditional factory / assembly plant settings in favor of speeches and hardware demonstrations at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
The Prophet system replaces several existing legacy
systems within service inventories, including
TRAILBLAZER, TEAMMATE, TRAFFICJAM, and the Lightweight Man-Transportable Radio Direction Finding System (LMRDFS). In fact, as it is fielded in increasing quantities, Prophet is slated to become the main SIGINT and Electronic Warfare (EW) system for the United States Army.
The Block I system is currently in production by the Signal Products Division (SPD) of Titan Systems Corporation, the largest element of the Titan Corporation and an industry leader in government information technology. SPD’s principle products include the PRD-13 family of HF / VHF / UHF direction finding systems, the Prophet Ground-Mobile SIGINT vehicle and a series of direction-finding antennas for use with Titan and other OEM systems. Company representatives note that, since the early 1980s, SPD has delivered leading-edge SIGINT and direction finding systems to the Department of Defense and allied customers, while steadily expanding the capabilities and performance of those systems.
In June 2001, Titan Systems Corporation was awarded a production contract to produce the Prophet Block I System, which includes an AN/PRD-13(V)2 signal intercepts system mounted on a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).
The AN/PRD-13(V)2 direction finder set, which was initially optimized for the man-portable tactical mission, is described in industry brochures as “more environmentally rugged and containing more functionality than its predecessor, the AN/PRD-13. The [(V)2] version provides three times the receiver capability eith significantly better performance, intercept and DF coverage to 2 GHz, and a task managed operator interface. Receiver performance improvements include higher sensitivity, lower phase noise, substantial spur reduction, significantly faster tuning speed, increased frequency resolution, and variable IF bandwidth selection.”
The Prophet Block I roll out ceremonies, which were held on the first anniversary of that contract, marked the start of delivery of six “production” systems.
Program descriptions identify the Prophet system’s primary mission as “24-hour Force Protection (FP) to the maneuver brigade. In concert with the Division TUAV SIGINT Payload (DTSP), the Prophet System will give the division commander a comprehensive near-real-time picture of enemy electronic emitters on the battlefield and provides the ability to detect, identify, geo-locate, track, and electronically attack (jam) user selected emitters.”
The Prophet Block I System that marked roll out in early
June contains the core electronic support (ES) component, the receiver/processor. The ES system provides Force Protection (FP) by detecting and demodulating intercepted enemy signals of interest and determining their lines-of-bearing (LOB) data. The ES system contains three receivers; one designated as the direction finding (DF) receiver and two as monitor receivers.
Search types include channel scan, fix-tuned, band sweep, and manually tuned with signals detection in AM, FM, continuous wave, and single side band (SSB). The system can be con