Volume 13, Number 1

13-1 cover

Ballistic Missile Defense at Lincoln Laboratory
Walter E. Morrow

Overview of the Lincoln Laboratory Ballistic Missile Defense Program
William Z. Lemnios and Alan A. Grometstein

The technical challenge that resulted in the creation of Lincoln Laboratory was to combine dispersed radars and computers into a system to defend the continental United States against attack by fleets of strategic bomber aircraft. The problem of air defense emerged from the end of World War II as one of the more serious threats against the security of the United States. Within a decade, the problem of air defense was transformed into one of providing a defense against attack by ballistic missiles, a problem that has engaged the Laboratory's attention ever since. This issue of the Lincoln Laboratory Journal records the history of the Laboratory's engagement in ballistic missile defense (BMD); this article provides an overview of the Laboratory's role. Other articles in this issue treat specific aspects of the Laboratory's BMD work in more detail.

Discrimination: Genesis and Algebra
Alan A. Grometstein

The subject of missile discrimination has long been a focus of Lincoln Laboratory's work on ballistic missile defense. This article discusses the nature of the decisions that the defense faces when preparing to discriminate warheads from decoys during a missile attack. The reader will find a broad, undetailed, introductory discussion of the rationale of discrimination and of the algebra used by the defense to quantify the performance of a discriminant. This article does not address such questions as "What discriminants exist?" or "How effective are they?" We discuss the tools needed to evaluate a product, not the product itself.

System Analyses and Element Support
Stephen D. Weiner

This article describes Lincoln Laboratory work on the system analyses and system element support that has been provided to the developers of ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems. This effort was a response to the technology and measurements described in companion articles in this issue, and was driven largely by the then current national focus on specific BMD applications. In the 1950s and early 1960s, the focus was on the development of dish radars and upgraded air defense interceptors for high-altitude defense of cities. In the mid-1960s the focus was on reentry defense of cities with phased-array radars and very high-acceleration interceptors. From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, the focus was on the use of a variety of concepts to defend missile silos. In the early Strategic Defense Initiative era of the 1980s, the focus was concentrated on using sensors and weapons operating in all phases of a trajectory to provide global defense against a massive attack. Currently, the focus is on theater missile defense with upgraded air defense systems augmented by dedicated missile defense systems, and national missile defense against limited attacks from either rogue nations or accidental or unauthorized attacks by a major power. Lincoln Laboratory has contributed to all these national efforts. This article focuses on the system-analysis effort and element support provided to the various BMD systems that were developed and deployed. The presentation is chronological, for it is tied to national defense objectives, the critical technical problems in achieving these objectives, and the Laboratory's contribution to the solution of these problems.

Measurements, Phenomenology, and Discrimination
Kent R. Edwards and Wade M. Kornegay

This article reviews Lincoln Laboratory's role in the evolution of solutions to the problem of target discrimination over the past forty years. We discuss the Laboratory's involvement in the development of target discrimination techniques, and we describe the national defense needs that required this development and the technological advances that made these techniques possible. This development is separated into four time periods: the late 1950s to early 1970s, when the physics of atmospheric reentry became the paramount concern; the early 1970s to early 1980s, after the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was negotiated; the early 1980s to early 1990s, when our nation undertook the Strategic Defense Initiative; and the early 1990s to the present, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. During this forty-year period, significant advances in sensor technology occurred for radars and infrared sensors. These advances were often driven by the need to develop missile discrimination technology. Many laboratory and field measurements were also gathered to define the phenomenology of missiles and penetration aids during space and atmospheric flight. We conclude by giving a brief forecast of discrimination advances expected during the next ten years.

Passive Optical Systems and Technology for Ballistic Missile Defense
William E. Bicknell, Michael J. Cantella, Brian E. Edwards, Daniel G. Fouche, Christopher B. Johnson, David G. Kocher, Donald E. Lencioni, and Grant H. Stokes

Passive optical techniques have played a major role in ballistic missile defense (BMD) research. They have been used to understand and improve launch detection, target acquisition, tracking, discrimination, and interceptor homing. Data obtained using passive optical sensors have been used to improve our understanding of the physics and phenomenology of targets, from launch through reentry and kill assessment. Lincoln Laboratory throughout its history has made numerous pioneering contributions to passive optics research and development, including developing critical technologies, understanding basic phenomenology, and developing and operating large, complex measurement systems. This article provides a chronicle of the passive optical systems and technology contributions that the Laboratory has made to BMD research.

The Optical Aircraft Measurements Program and Cobra Eye
Bartley L. Cardon, Donald E. Lencioni, and William W. Camp

The utility of infrared observations for discrimination in ballistic missile defense has been long recognized and appreciated. It was not until 1981, however, that the development of a large-aperture infrared telescope, deployed on a dedicated aircraft with sufficient endurance and operational ceiling to allow sustained observations on ballistic missile systems, where ambient water vapor was low and infrared sky background minimal, was initiated by the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Defense Advanced Technology Center. Lincoln Laboratory assumed the major role of prime contractor for this project, and was given responsibility for development of a three-color infrared sensor under the name of the Optical Aircraft Measurements Program (OAMP). The dedicated aircraft was a C-135, operated and maintained by the Strategic Air Command. The combination of the OAMP sensor and the C-135 aircraft became known as Cobra Eye. In this article we provide the historical background to the program, beginning with early sky-noise measurements in 1981 and proceeding to an overview of the development of the sensor system and modification of the dedicated aircraft, which occurred from 1983 to 1989. We then describe Cobra Eye's deployment and basing in Alaska and its successful period of data collection from 1989 to 1993. We conclude with a technical description of the optical sensor and its supporting subsystems.

Laser Radar Technology for Ballistic Missile Defense
William E. Keicher, William E. Bicknell, Richard M. Marino, William R. Davis, Jr., Steven E. Forman, and Timothy Stephens

The history of radar development suggests that radar applications are strongly driven by the availability and quality of high-power signal sources. The invention of the laser in 1960 opened the possibility of using this coherent light source as a transmitter for a laser radar. Laser radars share many of the basic features of microwave radars. However, it is the extremely short operating wavelength of lasers that introduces new military possibilities, especially in the area of target identification, precision tracking, and missile guidance. This article traces the development of laser-radar technology for ballistic missile defense at Lincoln Laboratory from the 1960s. The development of laser-radar technology was primarily expressed in the construction, testing, and demonstration of laser-radar systems. These included the Laser Infrared Tracking Experiment (LITE), a high-power neodymium-doped yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd:YAG) system used for reentry-vehicle signature measurements at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands; the high-power, long-range Firepond carbon dioxide (CO2) laser-radar system used for deployment-phase discrimination experiments; and several low-power ND:YAG laser radars featuring photon-counting receivers that could be used for precision tracking applications as well as in active imaging seekers for interceptors.

High-Energy Lasers and Laser Propagation
Ronald R. Parenti, Robert H. Kingston, and Charles Higgs

Since the mid-1960s, Lincoln Laboratory has been involved in a comprehensive investigation of high-power laser constructs for strategic weapon applications. The Department of Defense funding for this work has been largely motivated by the military's desire to find a cost-effective alternative to expensive arsenals of kinetic-kill interceptors. In principle, a laser-weapon system is capable of projecting an unlimited stream of high-energy photon pulses, which can be precisely aimed and quickly redirected to counter multiple-warhead attacks. The practical realization of an effective weapon-class system has proven to be extremely difficult, however, owing to the complex engineering challenges associated with the construction of high-power optical sources and the beam-control systems that are necessary to deliver the focused energy to the intended target. For the past thirty-five years, Lincoln Laboratory has aggressively pursued solutions to both of these problems through a careful progression of theoretical analyses, subscale laboratory experiments, and full-scale field exercises. This research has been crucial for the development of a quantitative understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the laser-weapon concept.

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