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FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

Intelligence Electronic Warfare Common Sensor

The Intelligence Electronic Warfare Common Sensor (IEWCS) was the future division-level signals intelligence (SIGINT) electronic support and electronic attack system. The IEWCS was intended to provide targeting, detection, identification, electronic attack and location reports in near real time to division and brigade commanders. It was designed to pass targeting data to TACFIRE in support of a quickfire or sensor-to-shooter link.

IEWCS was developed to replace six separate and unique signals intelligence/electronic warfare (SIGINT/EW) legacy systems. Each of these legacy systems were technically limited in their ability to deal with the frequency spectral coverage of newer threat emissions and with advanced forms of modulation, such as spread spectrum. These legacy systems also lacked any meaningful degree of interoperability among themselves or with other Army battlefield systems. Furthermore, although each legacy system performed a functionally similar SIGINT/EW mission, they had virtually no commonality of hardware, firmware, or software. As a result, each system required somewhat different operations and support personnel and facilities.

The GBCS-L/H ranges are extended beyond the FLOT by use of the AQF aerial platform which interoperates with the GBCS-L/H. The IEWCS provides highly accurate location data via its precision location subsystems. All the subsystems mounted on the three different platforms are the same.

Each of the three IEWCS subsystems was integrated together within three different Army tactical platforms to provide three highly diverse, but functionally identical and interoperable, IEWCS system configurations to support the SIGINT/EW mission of Army heavy divisions, light divisions, and airborne divisions. The IEWCS system consists of

A fourth system called the Mobile Electronic Warfare Support System (MEWSS) is the U.S. Marine Corps' IEWCS system.

Each platform will be equipped with modular subsystems. They will include COMINT, ELINT, electronic attack (EA), communications, and precision location subsystems. Platforms will also contain appropriate antenna suites, workstations, and software. Each sensor platform will be able to locate the active electronic signatures of threat critical nodes, high value targets, and high priority targets, as determined by collection management and targeting processes. IEWCS will help satisfy the commander's priority intelligence requirements and information requirements, target development, target acquisition, and EA requirements in a 24-hour, all-weather tactical environment.

When fielded, these IEWCS systems would replace the following divisional intercept, location, and jamming systems in the force structure:

Initial fielding consisted of the GBCS-L (FY97) and the AQF (FY98) only. In FY02 the GBCS-H was to be ready for fielding. At that time, heavy divisions would replace their GBCS-Ls with GBCS-Hs. Light divisions will then receive these redistributed GBCS-Ls. Fielding would continue until all divisions have the full complement of IEWCS systems as outlined by the current basis-of-issue plan (BOIP). The current BOIP provided four AQFs per division plus one of the following: four GBCS-L per light division, four GBCS-H per Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), or six GBCS-H per heavy division. Fielding of the IEWCS systems was to be complete in 2010.

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Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Created by John Pike
Updated Thursday, November 25, 1999 12:11:07 PM