09 November 2011 by Beth Stevenson - shephardmedia.com
The British Army's Surveillance and Target Acquisition Plan (STAP) is changing STA missions in theatre so that it 'uses assets properly', according to military officials.
'We need to know what assets are looking, and where they are looking; without this all the assets out there are unfocused. It ends up just being a platform in the sky,' Maj Giles Malec, SO2 ISTAR Policy/Plans for the UK MoD, told the FIND conference in Bisley, UK, on 9 November.
'A powerful camera does not mean you are going to identify a target,’ Malec explained.
He said while ‘it may look like there is a host of assets’, there is never enough to ‘satisfy everybody all of the time' and this is where the STAP and human planning plays an important role.
Lt Col Richard Hayhurst, commanding officer of the British Army’s 5 Regiment Royal Artillery, said 'there has been a change in how we use our people’.
‘The last few months there has been a big change in how things are done for this regiment. However there is no ISTAR leadership at the moment. Internally we are battling with this,' Hayhurst said.
The Royal Artillery’s 5 Regiment has been the army's STA regiment since 1994, and in the past 18 months there has been a move to provide an STA battery to every brigade in theatre, which includes base ISTAR systems and a network, STA patrols and specialist surveillance, and C-IDF radar and acoustic systems.
There is no reconnaissance carried out within the brigade, but 'recce is very much alive and don't believe anything otherwise', Hayhurst insisted.
He noted that all systems' data needs to be fused, which is 'absolutely vital', including the massing, soaking, layering and cross cueing of EW, STA and UAS.
'Am I going back to basics? Yes. It is very simple, but it doesn't happen,' Hayhurst continued. 'We don't need any more systems. If you do not send technical experts forward into this battlespace the force commander will not get the most out of these systems.'
Malec also pointed out that out of all the assets used for STA in the land environment the proper use of air assets is 'a real challenge', and the land brigades need subject matter experts from those areas to 'understand the air component'.