2013 Technology Achievement Award Winners
The Ballistic Missile Defense Advanced Algorithm Team
James Brandt, Joe Butler, Rob Conley, Jeff Freyschlag, Patrick Godin, Jennifer Koury, James Lynge, LTC Scott McLeod, Ralph Schweers, Dave Theisen, Sam Van Winkle, LTC Reid Vander Schaaf, Jacki Wilson.
This multi-disciplined team of leading government and industry experts in infrared sensor data fusion and track algorithm development, orbital mechanics, communication system design, and experimental test planning was instrumental in the first use of data from overhead and airborne, infrared sensors to successfully intercept a ballistic missile. They provided technical and programmatic leadership that was instrumental in creating the comprehensive experimental test plan for infrared sensors (ABIR, STSS, OPIR) that built upon previous successes and knowledge gained to incrementally demonstrate new capabilities for the Ballistic Missile Defense System.
The overall goal of the experimentation plan was to develop, test, mature and transition the ability to detect, track, discriminate, and assess a hit on threat ballistic missiles. The team developed the ability to generate high precision tracks in real time from existing sensors onboard unmanned aerial vehicles. They were able to show that these tracks, fused with existing sensor data achieved the accuracy and timeliness to meet Aegis Launch-on-Remote criteria in simulated engagements. The campaign culminated with the first ever intercept by Aegis using satellite tracks for C2BMC during Flight Test Mission (FTM)-20 in February 2013.
The campaign was built on knowledge gained from many years of real-world data collections and flight tests to mature the data fusion algorithms including FTM-15, FTT-12, FTM-16E2a, and FTM-18. This new capability expands the battle space and improves raid handling. Team members developed the communications software that transmitted data to the Enterprise Sensors Laboratory and the Experimental Command and Control Lab, or X-Lab, where the information was integrated into the Link-16 architecture and transmitted to the ship. The FTM-20 success speaks to this team’s ingenuity to leverage existing assets to overcome complex challenges and paves the way for the next evolution of engage-on-remote with airborne infrared sensors.
Program Executive, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense
Rear Admiral Joseph A. Horn Jr.
Rear Admiral Joseph A. Horn Jr. provided exceptional leadership, technical supervision and operational perspective that was absolutely crucial for the development, certification and fielding of the second generation Aegis BMD weapon system. Aegis BMD is the centerpiece of President Obama’s commitment to field a European Phased Adaptive Approach capability that will defend the U.S., deployed forces and allied friends and partners from limited missile attacks from rogue states in the Middle East.
Admiral Horn’s direct guidance and oversight of the development of maritime BMD capabilities and support of system tests successfully resolved daunting technological challenges in integrating sensor, C2BMC, fire control (Aegis BMD 4.0) and interceptor (SM-3 Blk IB) capabilities. These integrated systems, with applications both afloat and ashore, are crucial for implementing defense strategy and planning guidance to defend the homeland as well as U.S. assets and interests in regions threatened by the proliferation of ballistic missiles.
His extensive technological knowledge grew the Aegis BMD program by 50% and dramatically expanded overall BMD capabilities through a range of technologically challenging Aegis BMD 4.0 initiatives, including: providing Aegis ships the ability to launch off of remote sensor data; improved threat discrimination (enhanced principal object track resolution); medium and wide RF feature extraction; RF object classification; RF and IR kill assessment (provides warfighters real-time knowledge of weapon system effectiveness); and adaptable computer programs that can accommodate emerging threats. Admiral Horn’s direction of SM-3 Blk IB development will provide improved kill capabilities that are critical to meeting presidential commitments to defend European allies. SM-3 Blk IB initiatives include: advanced signal processor; two-color IR seeker with all-reflective optics, a new Throttleable Divert and Attitude Control System; designs to SRBM and MRBM intercept and delivery of the first 5 SM-3 Blk IBs.
As a direct result of Admiral Horn’s technical and engineering expertise, the U.S. will field a proven and adaptable capability to counter one of the most serious and existential threats to our nation’s security.