'Prophet' helps warfighters see enemy

The Army is hoping its new Prophet system will help soldiers predict the future when it comes to the movement and tactics of U.S. enemies.

For the first time in more than 20 years, the Army this week unveiled a new, mobile signals intelligence and electronic warfare system. It is designed to empower soldiers with surveillance capabilities to match the service's current threats, said Edward Bair, program executive officer for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO-IEWS), whose office developed and managed the system.

Prophet enables tactical commanders to intercept radio frequency signals, perform signal direction finding, and develop actionable intelligence from intercepted voice and communications data. It provides a comprehensive near-real-time picture of enemy electronic emitters on the battlefield. The Prophet Block I system includes a signal interceptor mounted on a high-mobility multipurpose vehicle. The system can be mounted or dismounted from the vehicle and set up in about three to five minutes, according to Army officials.

"Prophet allows operations on the move, which has never been done before," Bair said at a June 12 rollout ceremony on Capitol Hill. "This is the first ground-based electronic surveillance system fielded in the U.S. Army in [more than] 20 years. There are 1970s technologies that soldiers are still using, and this brings them up to speed with current threats."

Lt. Gen. Robert Noonan Jr., the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, said that earlier versions of the Prophet system are being used in Afghanistan in "key operations" in the war on terrorism. Feedback from soldiers who have tested and used the new system has been very positive, Noonan said.

"Everything I hear from soldiers is that it works," Noonan said, adding that with all due respect to the people in Washington, D.C., the opinion of the sergeant who uses Prophet is a bit more valuable.

Noonan also applauded the Prophet contractor, Titan Systems Corp., for delivering the system exactly one year after being awarded the contract. Ronald Gorda, senior vice president for the company, said the integrated product team (IPT) approach was the key to success.

Gorda said IPTs sometimes can be nothing more than glorified negotiations, but in this case, Titan and Army users were involved and the company took feedback at strategic times to make changes based on the service's needs.

The initial Prophet contract was valued at about $7.9 million for six systems, and the Army has just exercised its first option for 31 more units, Gorda said. If all the options are picked up, the contract will be worth about $58 million for 83 systems, he said.

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