Could Maritime Domain Awareness Ride the Coattails of Missile Defense?

At least since 9/11, the Coast Guard has been talking about Maritime Domain Awareness–the ability to keep track of everything approaching our coasts. The effort has used the Automatic Identification System (AIS) which gives the position and identification of cooperating vessels, and also anticipates cooperation with the Navy’s Maritime Patrol Aircraft and Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) system which will use large land based unmanned aircraft, in addition to the Coast Guard’s own assets.

Concurrently the US has been developing a defense against ballistic missiles. (More info here on additional effort.) If they go to the trouble and expense of doing that, then they will almost certainly also develop a defense against cruise missiles as well, since it is relatively easy to launch cruise missiles against the US from nondescript container ships. The system that is likely to be used, the Army’s JLENS, has demonstrated a capability to track even small boats.

Sounds like the pieces of a comprehensive system that the Coast Guard may be able to exploit, may be coming together.

37 thoughts on “Could Maritime Domain Awareness Ride the Coattails of Missile Defense?

  1. Chuck,
    That brings back memories of the early 80’s while in CGC Chase on patrol in the Carribean working with Aerostat ( see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tethered_Aerostat_Radar_System )tethered to an ocean going tug while we recieved their radar input at great distances to intercept suspected drug trafficing vessels.
    It worked well till one day the Aerostat broke its tether to the tug and we spent a day chasing it around while on turbines till its air speed exceeded our 29 knot flank speed and it eventually lost altitude crashing into the ocean and sank with its radar dome still attached. Alas that was our last experience with the balloon but it did have a great potential and given the advances in the technology it would be a useful tool for maritime surveillance and defense.

  2. Pingback: Fish Tech | Boat Beacon Serves Up Easy AIS « JuneauTek

  3. One of the best tours I ever had in the CG was on Caribbean Sentry, assigned to MAPDET Miami. Sad to have seen MAPDET decomm’d. The ships were turned over initially to the Army in 1991!! I don’t believe the Army did much with them. Civilian crews, civilian cooks, civilian clothes u/w (unless we saw a CG cutter or had to re-fuel a 110), two-man staterooms – that was some of the best u/w duty back in the 80’s/90’s.
    One of the aerostat’s got away and floated over and was downed by the Cuban’s.

  4. Looks like this system is going into the DC area. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pentagon-to-launch-blimps-to-guard-against-cruise-missiles/) Now if you think there is no defense against cruise missiles for DC, which has the only emplaced AAW system around any American city that I am aware of (http://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/nasams/). Where is our defense?How about the rest of us? Then we could use them for Maritime Domain Awareness.

  5. Another system that might be used for maritime domain awareness. http://www.squamishchief.com/what-the-us-military-wants-for-missile-defence-multi-use-sensors-in-the-arctic-1.1337098
    “Those state-of-the-art systems would be designed to track maritime vessels, airplanes and small cruise missiles — all in addition to any large missile fired off by North Korea or some hypothetical rogue state….I think both countries no longer care to invest in single-mission, one-trick-pony capabilities. So we would want multi-mission kinds of sensors up there.”

  6. Pingback: Document Alert–National Military Strategy, 2015 | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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