• The U.S. Army's Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing/Space Cross-Functional Team has approved the rapid development and deployment of the Tactical Space Layer, which is expected to shorten the sensor-to-shooter timeline and help equip the Army for multi-domain operations. Credit: U.S. Army photo
     The U.S. Army's Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing/Space Cross-Functional Team has approved the rapid development and deployment of the Tactical Space Layer, which is expected to shorten the sensor-to-shooter timeline and help equip the Army for multi-domain operations. Credit: U.S. Army photo

Army Approves Tactical Space Layer Rapid Development

April 19, 2021
Posted by George I. Seffers
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The system will offer rapid targeting and situational awareness.


The Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing/Space Cross-Functional Team announced today the approval of the Tactical Space Layer (TSL) abbreviated capability development document.

The document validates the need and provides the source for desired capabilities to execute rapid experimentation and prototyping efforts for tactical space-based sensors with supporting ground-based equipment. The accelerated TSL will deliver solutions necessary to shorten the sensor-to-shooter timeline and equip the Army multidomain operations (MDO)-capable force by 2028 to the MDO-ready force by 2035.

The purpose of the TSL rapid development and deployment is to synchronize a multitude of dependent activities across the warfighting functions and cross-functional teams by incorporating existing and developing space-based programs and assets to streamline the process of delivering mobile, scalable, interoperable and agile capabilities to the field quickly, according to an Army press release. The effort will inform the development of materiel and non-materiel requirements for program of record procurement and fielding to the force.  

“The TSL will provide deep area sensing, rapid targeting and unmatched battlefield situational awareness,” Lt. Col. Travis Tallman, USA, director of the cross-functional team’s Tactical Space Signature Effort, says in the press release. “Leveraging the TSL will further enable long-range precision fires and ground maneuvers in GPS-challenged environments.”

Access to the TSL will allow soldiers to operate in anti-access/area denied environments. Additionally, it will shorten the sensor-to-shooter timeline required for MDO. The APNT/Space cross-functional team and its partners are currently conducting a multiyear, multi-exercise campaign of learning, spanning U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. European Command theaters. 

The cross-functional team coordinates regularly with organizations across the modernization enterprise as well as the intelligence community to enhance warfighter access to space-based capabilities. In 2019, a TSL interagency memorandum of agreement was signed by the secretary of the Army, the director of the National Reconnaissance Office, the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. 

The TSL will be integrated with the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN), the Army’s next-generation intelligence ground station, which will be a major component to enable deep sensing and shortening the sensor-to-shooter timeline. TITAN will have the ability to access aerial and terrestrial sensors while enabling assured access to national, commercial and TSL sensors to identify and deliver targetable data directly to fires networks that support LRPF.

The cross-functional team plans to assess and test TSL prototypes during a series of live fire exercises later this year in U.S. Army Europe and Africa and U.S. Army Pacific. The team will also be assessing TSL prototypes during Project Convergence at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and the Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona.

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