The first Prophet Enhanced (program of record) system was delivered to the 504th BSB providing Soldiers with the Army’s premier ground SIGINT platform. (U.S. Army photo by Christopher Adornato.)
By Brandon Pollachek
Creating a picture of the battlefield so that commanders can make informed decisions on how to operate encompasses various forms of intelligence. With the delivery of the first Prophet Enhanced (program of record) to the 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (BSB), the realm of ground signals intelligence (SIGINT) received a major boost.
Prophet Enhanced serves as the Army’s premier ground SIGINT platform, building upon the success and lessons learned from preceding Prophet systems including: Prophet Spiral 1, Triton III, and a quick reaction capability (QRC) version of Prophet Enhanced.
With the initial fielding of eight systems to the 504th BSB, military intelligence Soldiers reached a major milestone as they took possession of a more survivable, flexible, and easy-to-use system that greatly enhances ground SIGINT missions.
“Prophet supports the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission, particularly in the areas of persistent area analysis, situational development, and mission overwatch, by providing actionable intelligence to the commander to execute the mission,” said LTC Jim Ross, Product Manager (PM) Prophet.
The effective use of Prophet Enhanced systems will allow Soldiers and teams to provide much-needed situational awareness to Joint Forces and commanders at levels that weren’t achievable just a few years ago. Information obtained using the Prophet systems will be particularly valuable in ongoing operations in Afghanistan.
The main difference between the QRC version of Prophet and the program of record lies in the fact that the latter gives a great deal of flexibility to commanders in terms of modular components. “The QRC version required full integration onto specific platforms, which limited flexibility in using components away from the vehicle or in a dismounted capacity. What we have done with the program-of-record version was modularize the components so that they could be quickly integrated onto, and removed from, the vehicle,” Ross said.
Prophet Enhanced is also equipped with the latest SIGINT enterprise software tools, optimized for the system in what is referred to as the Prophet Software Suite (PS2).
This cutting-edge technology has been eagerly awaited by the Soldiers assigned to use Prophet systems. “As an MI [Military Intelligence] Soldier, the Prophet Enhanced is a very welcome addition, as it offers crucial upgrades and software changes that have improved the overall integration of system components,” said CW2 Shane Harman, 504th BSB SIGINT advisor.
Describing the role that Prophet Enhanced plays in the mission of an MI Soldier, Harman said, “The new Prophet Enhanced gives our forces a more robust operational capability, as it allows for easier movement of the dismount system.” In addition, he said, by increasing the number of communication platforms, the new system gives operators more flexibility to conduct simultaneous split-based, fixed, and mobile operations.
Prophet Enhanced is installed onto Panther variants of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, a large six-wheeled, V-hulled vehicle that offers passengers added protection from improvised explosive devices, as well as greater operating space. Additionally, the Department of the Army provided PM Prophet with one MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) to outfit with Prophet; this configuration had received positive reviews from the 504th due to the additional mobility the vehicle can provide in austere conditions. “Some units have indicated they may submit operational needs statements to move out on M-ATV variants,” Ross said.
Allowing Soldiers to operate away from the Prophet Enhanced sensor has direct benefits for Soldier safety, as well as efficiency. “The sensor can be placed in a location [outside the wire], and the Soldier can have the ability to operate in a safe enclave among other Intel Soldiers from the other intelligence components,” Ross noted.
“Now, when a Soldier collects SIGINT, it can be in a distributed fashion where they collaborate with one another and they are able to evaluate, collect, and exploit the information collected by the sensors in that enclave, rather than having to be right where the sensor is and having to go back and load the information. We have allowed for distributed operations and have allowed for them to operate in a collaborative and safe environment, dismounted while the mounted piece is still out,” he said.
The PM anticipates fielding up to 50 sensors to the rest of the Army during the next several years.
- BRANDON POLLACHEK is the Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors Public Affairs Officer, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. He holds a B.S. in political science from Cazenovia College and has more than 10 years’ experience in writing about military systems.