Enhanced regional situational awareness
June 1, 2007
Airspace protection in the capital area is provided by an Integrated Air Defense System (IADS) created through the coordinated response of U.S. government and local law-enforcement agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Capitol Police. The IADS includes U.S. Coast Guard helicopters, fighter aircraft, and airborne early-warning aircraft cued by surveillance radars. Under Operation Noble Eagle, the response to a threat includes warning flares deployed from fighter aircraft and, ultimately, the use of surface and air-launched missiles. Selecting the appropriate response requires a means for rapidly assessing the aircraft threat. New and existing sensors must be simultaneously cued to the target of interest and integrated with existing sources of information to display a common-air-picture display to support the decision makers. This article describes the development of an Enhanced Regional Situation Awareness system, an integrated sensing and decision support system developed for the complex and busy airspace surrounding the National Capital Region.