Tactical Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) Sensing

Start Dates:

Start Date 1: 01/28/2020 8:30 am


Location Course 1: Columbia, Maryland

Course Length:



$2290 per person


Over the past decade, we have witnessed the development of several key technologies that have successfully merged to form remote sensing systems addressing applications previously thought too complex, too expensive, or simply not capable of being observed at the level required. MEMS-based sensors have undergone significant refinements that have led to highly capable sensor systems that perform target detection, discrimination and tracking. Equal in significance have been advances in miniaturizing inertial navigation components and injecting geolocation capabilities, to allow for both static and mobile applications. To complete the system construct, note that data communication chipsets have advanced in parallel and have been successfully merged with sensing technologies to become effective components of widely distributed sensor systems. Middleware has become the “glue” that holds these functions together to form powerful sensing solutions to a host of problems. This 2-day course will present fundamental sensing equations that describe sensor system performance for optical (infrared/VIS passive and laser radar), RF (including ultrawideband, UWB), and acoustic. The course will provide the underlying probability theory and derive performance equations for these sensor technologies. Scalability is presented to address the one-to-thousands of sensor node systems. Techniques will be provided that combine sensor and system functional component models, enabling the student to embark on specific design strategies and/or evaluation of existing systems. The course includes example Python code developed to examine optical sensor performance and case studies of existing sensor systems to provide insight into system limitations and considerations (development and operation costs, and complexities) that arise in real-world remote sensor system deployments.

What you will learn:

  • Terminology associated with of critical terms associate with sensors, sensor technologies, sensor system performance, and assessment evaluation
  • Identification of key performance parameters via sensor design equations
  • How to adapt, and successfully use, underlying performance equations associated with sensors and sensor systems
  • What are the critical performance parameters, and their rank-order into importance for sensor/system success
  • Examples are reviewed (Bernoulli trials, Poisson statistics, memoryless systems) to provide tangible evaluation of sensors in real-world (stochastic) applications.
  • How to interpret and analyze ISR system requirements at the subsystem and overall system levels. This includes the process of generating system design objectives and key performance parameters (KPPs).
  • To develop and use existing evaluation “tools” to evaluate limitations and capabilities exhibited by ISR system(s), end-to-end.
  • Which sensor technologies provide what capability, including how imagers (EO/IR), radar, laser radar, and other sensor modalities function within tactical ISR systems.
  • How to consider false alarms while maintaining an acceptable level of detection probability via working the “trade-off space”.
  • Design rules associated with object detection, tracking, and identification
  • How to manage distributed ISR assets and implement successful exfiltration of vital sensor data products to users that require such (actionable timeliness).
  • How to support seamless integration of ISR system(s) to situational analyses and common operating (COP) architectures, such as C2PC or FalconView.
  • Which effective set of “analysis” tools exist that can aid in evaluating ISR components, systems, requirements verification (and validation), and/or effective deployment and maintenance of an ISR system.
  • Discussion of standards that provide value-added capabilities, including: sensor harmonization and sensor web enablement (SWE) technologies.

Course Outline:

  1. Overview of ISR systems. Including definitions, objectives, and approaches.
  2. Requirement development. Tracking of requirements and responsive design implementation(s).
  3. Sensor modalities and design. Capabilities, evaluation criteria, and modeling approach: Electro-optical imagers (EO/IR), Radar (including ultrawideband, UWB), Laser radar, Seismic/Acoustic monitoring, Ad hoc wireless sensor nodes (WSN).
  4. Wireless Sensor Networking (WSN). Low-power efficient networking, microcontroller-based processing, power-saving and self-healing strategies.
  5. Data communication systems. WSN-based and exfiltration (worldwide) architectures. Protocols employed and consideration of data communication tradeoffs.
  6. Geolocating sensors and tracked targets. Positioning of the sensor field and ability to discern object location and velocity.
  7. Target tracking and identification. Discriminates used by ISR systems and track formation by ISR systems. Tagging, tracking & locating targets of interest (TTL), and non-cooperative target identification (NCID).
  8. Tactical ISR Platforms. Land-based, air-based, and sea-based systems.
  9. Situational awareness platforms. Getting timely and understandable ISR data to the decision-makers. Injecting data from, and controlling of, ISR systems.
  10. ISR system performance and evaluation tools. Gauging a viable ISR system and associated capabilities and limitations.
  11. Case studies. Review of existing, and planned, ISR systems throughout the 2-day course.


If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or ati@aticourses.com. Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead time. For on-site pricing, you can use the request an on-site quote form, call us at (410)956-8805, or email us at ati@aticourses.com.


  • Timothy D. Cole is a leading authority with 30 years of experience in the design, development, and deployment of Remote Sensing used in both terrestrial and exoatmospheric applications. While at Applied Physics Laboratory, he design & developed a TDRSS S-band online calibration process, led the GEOSAT-1 Ku-band altimeter data processing, and developed novel processing related to laser vibrometry for non-destructive evaluation (NDE) applications and long-range (OTH) target characterization. He was also technical lead for the LOng-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI instrument) for the Pluto mission, New Horizons. During his career with Teledyne and Northrop Grumman, Tim designed and implemented VIS-LWIR exoatmospheric sensor systems for target acquisition, discrimination & tracking and worked ad hoc wireless sensor nets. In recognition of accomplishing the foregoing tasks, Tim was awarded the NASA Achievement Award in connection with the design, development and operation of the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Laser Radar and was selected as a Northrop Grumman Technical Fellow consecutively for 3 years. Tim has conducted numerous research programs to further enhance optical sensor design and uses including tactical application of laser radars and ad hoc sensor nets. Mr. Cole holds multiple degrees in Electrical Engineering as well as in Technical Management. He now works as the calibration lead for the NASA/GSFC of NASA’s ICESat-2 laser altimeter.

    Contact these instructors (please mention course name in the subject line)

Request On-Site Quote