FAS | Intelligence | Programs | Disseminate |||| Index | Search |

FAS Project on Intelligence Reform


The United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps require the capability to pass voice, data, and imagery for tactical battlefield use. To meet this capability, the NRO OSO directed the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) to develop the Radiant Hail System to support dissemination of tactical battlefield information via wide band Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) link. The Radiant Hail System, in its final configuration, will comprise a master Command and Control (C2) Node (suitcase-sized C2 station) and a slave Forward Node (man-portable terminal).


Phase I was completed and successfully demonstrated in December 1993. The intent of Phase I was to leverage existing NRL capabilites in tactical communications, Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) mapping, and imagery to develop a compact tactical battlefield package (suitcase-sized). The Phase I Radiant Hail System combined existing hardware and modified software to provide processing capabilities for DMA maps, Tactical Related Application (TRAP), Tactical Data Information Exchange System Broadcast (TADIXS-B), imagery, teleconferencing, voice, and GPS. Radiant Hail Phase I provided the following in a two-suitcase C2 Node, one-terminal Forward Node configuration:

Phase II is in process and will culminate in the development of a prototype single-suitcase C2 Node, multiple-terminal Forward Node system that will take advantage of recent system architecture developments and advanced technologies. Phase II is building upon both the applied technolgies of the Phase I system and lessons learned from various equipment demonstrations.

Phase III is a planned development project that will provide the following enhancements and capabilities in a configuration similar to that being developed for Phase II:

System Description

Phase I

The Phase I Radiant Hail System consists of a C2 Node and a Forward Node. The C2 Node contains a Commander's Situational Awareness Workstation in one suitcase-sized case along with subsystem communication assemblies in a second case. The C2 Node successfully integrates the following demonstrated technologies:

Commander's Situational Awareness Workstation (CSAW)
CSAW is a portable computer terminal capable of simultaneously processing and presenting intelligence reports from TRAP, TADIXS-B, and TIBS and fusing these with primary and secondary imagery. Intelligence reports are graphically overlaid onto DMA maps and presented with threat rings and intervisibility calculations based on Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED). Mission planning capabilities include route/corridor planning, flight hazards, obstacles, and standard battle graphics. CSAW provides dissemination of INTEL products via standard communications channels, direct digital connectivity to ISTARS, and automatic reformatting from "National Product" to "In-Theater" message types.
Multi-Mission Advanced Tactical Terminal (MATT)
MATT is capabile of simultaneously receiving and processing intelligence reports for TADIXS-B, Tactical Information Broadcast Service (TIBS), and TRAP. It includes embedded encryption, message processing, and tactical data and interface processing. It supports six simultaneous channels covering the 225 to 400 MHz frequency bands.
Improved Data Modem (IDM)
The IDM passes digital targeting or situation awareness information to and from airborne or ground platforms (digital and analog) over heritage voice communications links. It contains two modems and a processor supporting the TACFIRE, AFAPD, and MTS protocols. It provides demonstrated digital interoperability among the USAF, ARMY, and USMC. Its flexible design is adaptable for new link and message formats-- additionally, a graphics processor capability is being developed for the ARMY.
IVTS 2.0 (ICE Communications) Image Teleconferencing
IVTS receives digital maps (DMAPs) with threat overlays and passes those images to other Radiant Hail users. The conferenced image can then be annotated by each user to provide a shared or common picture of the battlefield. Drawing tools allow quick annotations with standard battle graphics. Transmission media include wide-band links at 64 and 256 kbps, STU III, and cellular.

Phase II

The Phase II Radiant Hail System is currently under development. During Phase II, the C2 Node will be reduced to a one-case configuration by adding functionality through modules (e.g., MATT and IDM functionality will be added via modules rather than requiring an actual MATT or IDM). Target weight of the sytem is approximately 45 pounds. Multiple enhanced Forward Node terminals will be fabricated.

Phase III is a planned development project that will provide the following enhancements and capabilities in a configuration similar to that being developed for Phase II:

Sources and Methods

FAS | Intelligence | Programs| Disseminate |||| Index | Search |

Created by John Pike
Maintained by Steven Aftergood

Updated Friday, July 04, 1997 11:18:40 AM