The SIDEARM program was initiated in 1989 to provide the capability to transmit and receive imagery products to a wide variety of users in the joint environment of DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. The capability provided by SIDEARM (then called FAISS SID System) was one of the few success stories of the war related to interoperability of imagery systems.The FAISS terrain team systems were delivered to Saudi Arabia in December 1990 and to divisions in January 1991 for Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM. Recent Landsat imagery was not readily available to the topographic units. Aggressive response to the shortfall was hampered by a cumbersome image procurement process. This process effectively left the topographic units without up-to-date imagery until mid-November 1990. Once the process was refined and organizational responsibilities were sorted out, Landsat imagery was delivered to all Army users. Delivery of imagery to the deployed topographic battalion was accomplished by courier. The courier arrived in theater in mid-January 1990, and imagery was delivered to the terrain and topographic users soon after. This late delivery, coupled with late delivery of the FAISSs, left some divisions with little or no time to exploit the capabilities available.
Army forces deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM used Wraase receivers to receive METEOSAT and U.S. and Soviet polar orbiting weather satellite data. Two were integrated into FAISS to allow additional processing of weather images. A commercial Weathertrac system was connected to the FAISS to digitize, enhance, and manipulate the imagery. Although METEOSAT provided the lowest resolution imagery, it was available every 30 minutes.