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Observation satellite The concept of ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) refers to the integrated capacity to acquire process, exploit and disseminate intelligence information, with appropriate content and in an appropriate time span enabling it to be used in the planning and development of military operations.

The ISTAR Functional Area is structured in accordance with the Intelligence Cycle in the following functional Sub-Areas:

  • Acquisition of sensor data
  • Data processing and exploitation, information analysis and intelligence production
  • Distribution of information and intelligence
  • Management of the intelligence cycle
  • ISTAR architecture

Acquisition of sensor data

This Sub-Area includes all the "providers" or "sources", (that is, the sensors), that enable data and information to be acquired. It also includes the processing of this data and information carried out within the sensor. Although there is a wide range of possible sources, the following are listed, due to their particular importance in ISTAR:

  • Radar sensors, particularly those used for surveillance and reconnaissance.
  • Electro-optical sensors, which include refrigerated and non-refrigerated photonic IR detectors, as well as aspects concerning image processing in the visible and IR ranges.
  • Acoustic sensors.

It includes the following Technology Goals:

  • TG 2.1.1 To obtain national technological capabilities to develop state-of-the-art air defence radars.
  • TG 2.1.2 To obtain technological capabilities to develop SAR/MTI radars mounted on aerial platforms, providing low weight and volume and offering cost efficiency.
  • TG 2.1.3 To obtain technological capabilities to develop SAR radars mounted on space platforms, providing low weight and volume and offering cost effectiveness.
  • TG 2.1.4 To obtain technological capabilities in HW and SW elements enabling progress toward modular and multifunctional radiofrequency (MRF) radars.
  • TG 2.1.5 To extend the use of EO (UV-VIS-IR) sensors, that are practicable (non-refrigerated IR, “militarised” COTS, etc.) in security and defence applications that enable day/night operations in any scenario and circumstance.
  • TG 2.1.6 To obtain technological capabilities in EO (IR) sensors and transmitters for use in very specific and demanding military and security applications.
  • TG 2.1.7 To obtain technological capabilities to develop sonars, both atmospheric and submarine.
  • TG 2.1.8 To obtain technological capabilities to analyse the behaviour in real surroundings of sonar systems fitted to surface and submarine vessels.

Data processing and exploitation, information analysis and intelligence production

This functional Sub-Area includes technological activities that make it possible to develop and/or improve the process of obtaining and transforming data and intelligence-derived information by means of compilation, evaluation, analysis, integration and interpretation.

It includes the following Technology Goals:

  • TG 2.2.1 To enhance the capability to make use of data from different sources, through the development and optimisation of data fusion algorithms.
  • TG 2.2.2 To enhance automatic capabilities for threat detection, location, recognition and/or identification.
  • TG 2.2.3 To develop and improve advanced information and analysis tools to obtain intelligence from data provided by sensors.
  • TG 2.2.4 To enhance the development of SW simulation tools for the analysis and evaluation of ISTAR systems.
  • TG 2.2.5 To enhance the information processing capability of present-day systems, achieving new architectures and introducing more powerful and more effective HW components.

Distribution of information and intelligence

The distribution of information, to the user who requires it and at the appropriate moment, is fundamental to the ISTAR chain. Although the communications technology itself is developed in another Functional Area, here we consider particular technological aspects of communications that are considered crucial and of special interest for the ISTAR area, which in a more general context might not be adequately addressed.

It includes the following Technology Goals:

  • TG 2.3.1 To improve the interoperability of ISTAR systems at both national and multinational levels.
  • TG 2.3.2 To expand the bandwidth of traditional electronic distribution channels by replacing them with photonic channels (fibre, free space, etc.).
  • TG 2.3.3 To develop key technologies (HW and SW), increasing the data transmission capacity of SATCOM and TDL systems.

Management of the intelligence cycle

Managing the intelligence cycle involves determining intelligence needs, planning the work required to meet these needs, transmitting orders and requests to procurement bodies and monitoring the latter’s productivity.

It includes the following Technology Goal:

  • TG 2.4.1 To improve processes of information analysis and prioritization, intelligence needs, and planning ISTAR missions.

ISTAR Architecture

Radar screen The aim of this cross-cutting Functional Sub-Area is to employ the concept of NATO Architecture Framework (NAF) to identify the technical requirements of national ISTAR systems and to provide tools for developing a national ISR reference architecture. This architecture will form part of the overarching NEC Architecture, which lies beyond the scope of this Functional Sub-Area.

It includes the following Technology Goal:

  • TG 2.5.1 To develop ISTAR architectures in accordance with the requirements and technical characteristics of future ISR systems.
  • Content search

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