WASHINGTON: The Army hopes to start early prototyping its flagship all-purpose, mobile ground station known as TITAN next year. The Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node is meant to underpin Army Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) — that is, connecting sensors and shooters across the air, land, sea, space and cyberspace domains so they can share targeting data in seconds.
“The program is currently going through an Analysis of Alternatives which will shape final requirements and system capabilities at echelon,” a spokesperson for the Army’s Project Manager Intelligence Systems & Analytics said. The goal is to formulate an official “program of record” to develop and buy the new system. “Early prototyping and system design efforts will start in FY21 and result in multiple prototypes in FY22.”
TITAN, a key contribution to the military’s future Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) network, will bring data from ground, air, and space sensors; the other two domains, which it won’t touch, are the sea and cyberspace. It is envisioned as a “unified” ground station that can take data not just from satellites, but also from aerial and terrestrial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors to provide targeting data directly to Army Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) networks.
“TITAN will provide a scalable, expeditionary, and tactical ground station or ‘catcher’s mitt’ that integrates Joint, Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and Commercial multi-intelligence data, products, and services,” the spokesperson said. “This includes not only space-based ISR capabilities, but also organic aerial and terrestrial systems such as the Multi-Domain Sensing System (MDSS) and Terrestrial Layer System (TLS).”
TITAN, using artificial intelligence and machine learning, should enable the Army to detect, characterize, and action threats “at the speed of demand in multi-domain operations across the continuum of operations, from competition to crisis to conflict,” the spokesperson added.
TITAN is building on earlier initiatives and prototypes spearheaded by the Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) Program office, which conducts advanced development and rapid prototyping. “TENCAP has conducted risk reduction efforts through experimentation and demonstration of existing ground station capabilities (such as ADV and RGT) specifically focused on the ingest of governmental and commercial space remote sensing data and its ability to close the sensor-to-shooter loop,” the spokesperson explained.
ADV stands for another one of those pesky nested acronyms beloved by the Army, the Advanced Miniaturized Data Acquisition System (AMDAS) Dissemination Vehicle. RGT is the Remote Ground Terminal. Both are satellite terminals developed by TENCAP as precursors to TITAN, the spokesperson explained, to help define TITAN concepts of operations and tactics, techniques and procedures.
The plan, the spokesperson said, is to make the first prototypes able to support upcoming exercises, including:
The Army spokesperson explained that two of the TITAN prototypes will be “dedicated to national/commercial space-based ISR access” during those exercises, and then will “become leave-behind capabilities,” to be handed over to the Army’s Multi-Domain Task Forces (MDTF) for future use.
“Additional prototypes in FY22 will include the fully integrated space, aerial, and terrestrial layer access. The latter will support Test & Evaluation and a production decision for TITAN by the end of FY23. The first TITAN systems will start fielding in FY24,” the spokesperson added.
What remains unclear, however, is how — and when — TITAN will integrate with the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), which is working on numerous types of software and hardware to serve as a foundation for JADC2. TITAN has not been part of the three ABMS On Ramp demonstrations held by the Air Force, but, as Sydney reported back in May, the Army has invited the Air Force to bring its ABMS tech to Project Convergence in 2021.
“The TITAN team has had engagements with ABMS and is still defining the relationship,” the spokesperson said. “The Army and the US Air Force (USAF) signed an agreement to jointly develop a battlefield communications network, called Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2). The TITAN PoR will synchronize development through those efforts.”
Army and and Air Force staffers now are working to implement the Oct. 2 accord between Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and his counterpart Gen. Charles Brown to mesh their disparate efforts to link all sensors to all shooters into an advanced command and control (C2) network into a CJADC2 network. (As we said, the jargon just keeps getting uglier.) CJADC2 is code for a truly ambitious effort: “combined” refers to allies and coalition partners; “joint” to US services; “all-domain” to land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace; “command and control” to coordinating military operations across all those actors and arenas.
The Army has also been working closely with the Space Development Agency to ensure that TITAN can leverage the various Low Earth Orbit satellite constellations being developed under the agency’s National Defense Space Architecture plan to create more resilient US space capabilities. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has ordered all the services to use SDA’s budding “Transport Layer” of data relay satellites to link their various C2 networks into the evolving JADC2 network.
“We are working to define key interfaces and relationships with Army and Joint partners,” the spokesperson said.