Isaac (Ike) Weissman heads Weissman Science & Engineering Co., LLC, a veteran-owned, small-business consulting firm located in Washington, DC. The company is not affiliated with or obligated to any other organization and therefore is able to provide impartial and objective technical assessments and top-level program reviews. The company specializes in radar and missile defense systems and technologies.
Ike Weissman has an extensive background in these and related areas. He earned engineering degrees from what are now the City University of New York and the Polytechnic Institute of New York, and from Columbia University. After his military service, he joined the Columbia University Electronics Research Laboratories and continued with the successor organization, Riverside Research Institute. While there, he rose to the positions of executive research director and corporate officer.
During that period, he conducted or directed a very broad diversity of projects. Many of these involved the planning, execution, and analysis of flight tests, including radar field measurements at the White Sands Missile Range and other test ranges. Concurrently, he led various efforts related to ballistic missile target discrimination, reentry physics, cruise missile detection, space object identification, ionospheric phenomenology, and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Many of his activities involved innovative radar techniques, radar designs, and test range radar upgrades, as well as some work in infrared (IR), electro-optic (EO), and laser radar technologies. He also organized or participated in a large number of panels, workshops, and proposal efforts. The sponsors of most of these activities were DARPA (formerly ARPA), the military services, and ballistic missile defense agencies.
Of the programs he led during this period, probably the one of most lasting importance was in connection with the Cobra Judy shipboard data collection system that served the nation so well for 30 years. He played a key role in starting Cobra Judy by presenting its potential capabilities and value to senior DoD and intelligence community staff and by subsequently preparing specifications for the Cobra Judy radar. He then directed the engineering support to the government for the source selection, design, acquisition, and operational testing of the Cobra Judy system. A Riverside Research Institute facility was established near Hanscom Air Force Base, MA for providing this engineering support. Cobra Judy has served vital functions for measurements of foreign and domestic missile tests, for treaty verification, and for arms control.
Among the outgrowths of the Cobra Judy work was the acquisition support for a large land-based multi-purpose dish radar and a land-based phased-array data collection radar, both located on foreign soil. Prior to their acquisitions, Weissman briefed the potential value of these radars to US intelligence community and host-nation staff, and this helped to secure their eventual funding.
Since forming his company in 1990, Ike Weissman has been very active as a consultant or subcontractor to large and small aerospace and defense companies, as well as to several research laboratories. Many, but not all, of these efforts have been in support of projects related to ballistic missile defense (BMD) and sponsored by what is now the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The activities can be roughly divided into the following categories:
System Engineering. With respect to proposed BMD building blocks, much of Weissman's work pertained to optimizing the locations, coverage, and major characteristics of defense radars, their relation to other components (e.g., interceptors), and their costs. Examples include the past consideration of the global placement of X-band phased-array radars, the use of inexpensive and low-risk gap-filler dish radars, and the utility of forward-based radars. Also, the use of over-the-horizon (OTH) sky-wave radars and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) for detection and tracking of offensive threats in their early boost phase was investigated. More recently, attention was devoted to architectures that support early engagements -- that is, intercepts in the early phases of offense trajectories – specifically in connection with the US’s Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA); included were analyses of threat coverage and political implications for different PAA radar placements in the Mideast/European theater.
Radar Technology. These activities have included search, tracking, discrimination, and electronic counter-countermeasure (ECCM) radar functions. Early work helped two contractors to adapt Navy air defense radars to BMD functions. Continuing investigations entailed performance and cost comparisons of dish vs. phased-array radars, wideband radar technology, solid-state vs. traveling-wave tube (TWT) phased-array antenna apertures, and S-band vs. X-band operating wavelengths for BMD. Related efforts involved lightweight low-power-density solid-state antenna apertures and their advantages regarding transportability as well as their potential for installation on large airships. Additional past efforts consisted of preparing top-level performance requirements (“thinspecs”) for advanced BMD X-band solid-state phased-array radars. For an entirely separate application, a multibeam synthetic aperture radar (SAR) method for enhanced ground-target imaging was investigated. More recently, a two-year development of a multistatic radar approach for obtaining extremely precise 3-D position and velocity of ballistic missile targets was completed.
Discrimination. Weissman's early consulting efforts emphasized raid characterization and discrimination for terminal defense, including reentry discrimination and “bulk filtering” techniques, for the Aegis radar and for a contender’s proposal to what later became the THAAD radar. For the latter proposal effort, a logical discrimination procedure and “rules of operation” were prepared. Subsequent emphasis was on evaluations of midcourse exoatmospheric discriminants and those applicable to forward-based radars (FBRs). Particular contributions were made relative to FBR ascent-phase discrimination using Doppler waveforms. An important activity was Weissman’s multi-year membership on an MDA “White Team” review panel to assess development efforts for advanced radar and EO/IR discrimination algorithms, as well as algorithms for other BMD functions, such as multi-target tracking and battle management.
Threats. Weissman served on a panel that met periodically to review postulated adversary ballistic missile threat systems and postulated threat component and countermeasure characteristics. He reviewed threat assessment documents in detail and provided written inputs for clarifications and corrections. In addition, he formulated an initial test matrix for large-scale laboratory simulations for a midcourse defense system; this matrix contained a variety of postulated threat characteristics and countermeasure suites. Lastly, for certain FBR analyses, he prepared a simplified threat document that included radar and EO/IR observables and physical characteristics of components and countermeasures assigned to a particular postulated adversary ballistic missile system.
Platforms. In 1992, Weissman, in collaboration with two prospective subcontractors, submitted a formal proposal for the use of IR sensors aboard unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) to provide boost-phase cueing of defense elements for engaging theater ballistic missiles (TBMs). (This was an early anticipation of an airborne infrared component of certain BMD architectures that has been under recurring consideration.) Subsequently, he conceptualized the use of solid-state bistatic radar receivers aboard UAVs for early launch detection. After that, he participated simultaneously on two competing proposal teams (with an appropriate “firewall”) for what would later become the Global Hawk high-altitude long-endurance UAV, and for these he was tasked with selecting or configuring on-board strip synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and spotlight SAR for the surface surveillance function. An ongoing interest of his relates to wide-area radar surveillance using a prospective large unmanned high-altitude airship radar for the detection and non-cooperative identification of hostile cruise missiles and low-flying aircraft.
Recent Activities. More recently, Weissman's professional activities have become more diversified. In addition to continuing investigations connected to BMD architectures, including the parameter and location recommendations for new radars in the NATO environment and for the US homeland defense, he has been engaged in two new endeavors: One of these is for the design and implementation of a radar for the monitoring of vehicle traffic in a major US city. The other, which draws upon his broad experience with radar systems, consists of preparation of a lecture series emphasizing the practical aspects of radar systems, including design tradeoffs, applications, costs, radar evolution, and other related business topics.
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