The capability of active and passive multispectral high-resolution sensors in all physical domains (acoustic, thermal, electromagnetic, electro-optical, nuclear, biological, and chemical) is expected to progress at a pace somewhat slower than that of the base information technologies, but still at a rate that will yield impressive opportunities for application to all types of military systems. Continued miniaturization of these sensors and their associated processing units will make them deployable on a variety of platforms, including spacecraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and manned aircraft, land vehicles, ships, and personal battlefield systems. For example, radar technology advances are expected in solid-state transmit/receive modules for higher output power, greater direct current to radio frequency conversion efficiency, increased miniaturization, and wider frequency band operation. Multispectral imaging sensors will prove to be of significant military value in detecting manmade and natural objects.
Technologies for geospatial referencing (such as the Global Positioning System and enhancements to it) that enable the location of targets, events, and friendly forces will also be important. Such technologies confer the ability to register events and objects in the same coordinate system, and underlie the ability to generate a common operating picture.
Some of this capability, originally military in its
focus, will become readily available at low cost in the commercial world; some
will be specifically developed by the military for its unique requirements.
Examples of widely available technologies that were once predominantly military
include low-cost Global Positioning System devices and satellite imaging.18 Examples of military-unique sensor systems include the Airborne Warning and Control System, the Space-based Infrared System, and the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System. DOD will be faced with determining and implementing the appropriate and timely application of this wide array of technologies.