Paris Air Show

Raytheon aids spooks in getting intelligence

 - December 15, 2006, 6:00 AM

“Our competitors make the bottle, but we make the wine that is inside” is how Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems Division President Mike Keebaugh described the products and services that his firm provides to the U.S. defense market. “Despite the fact that we do not make any platforms–just what goes inside of them–we are the number- four aerospace firm in the U.S.”

One of Raytheon’s major developments is its distributed common ground system (DCGS) Block 10.2 upgrade, which the company is under contract to produce for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). This ground-based information distribution and intelligence information processing center will become the networkcentric warfare nervous system that supports operations of U.S. armed forces around the world. The first center using the 10.2 upgrade to the system architecture and software will be site-tested at Langley AFB and eventually there will be 30 such centers around the world.

The reason that Raytheon has been able to develop and deploy a system that meets U.S. armed forces requirements, said its executives, is that they essentially wrote the book on how to design, install and implement intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems.

The first such program ever was the Sistema de Vigilância da Amazônia (SIVAM) designed for the Brazilian government to monitor the Amazonia region of the country and prevent drug smuggling, illegal logging operations and so forth. This system, which become operational in 2001, combines land-based radars, surveillance aircraft and intelligence information inputs and–in the same vein as the DCGS–fuses the data on a central command node. SIVAM ties together 14 agencies of the Brazilian government and allows them to share and receive data via this network.

Two unknowns remain about the DCGS program for the USAF project are its schedule (Raytheon officials state that its timetable for implementation is currently restricted information) and how and where other foreign nationals might be able to sit in these networkcentric centers. The U.S. has numerous coalition partners who would be involved in military operations that require the support of these DCGS centers, but U.S. intelligence authorities have traditionally been reluctant to hand over unprocessed intelligence data to allies.