Electronic warfare involves the utilization of techniques, equipment and devices to counteract or deny the enemy from using radar, communications and other radio wave devices. The EW techniques can be further subdivided into electronic support, electronic attack and electronic protection (Frater & Ryan, 2001). Electronic support (ES) involves actions taken by an operational commander to search, intercept, identify and locate sources of electromagnetic energy. ES is considered to be passive as it involves using passive measures which do not generate their own energy.
Electronic attack (EA) involves using electromagnetic energy to attack facilities, equipment or personnel in order to destroy the enemy’s combat capability. EA is taken be an active technique as it involves jamming, neutralization and electronic deception, which are usually noisy since they generate their own energy (Goodman & Carus, 1990). Jamming entails use of electromagnetic energy to prevent radio signal transmission. In neutralizing the enemy’s signal, extremely high levels of electromagnetic radiation are utilized to damage permanently the enemy’s electronic equipment.
While in electronic deception false or misleading signals are sent in order to deceive and confuse the enemy. Electronic protection (EP) entails the actions taken to protect facilities, personnel and equipment from effects of EW that would destroy or damage their combat capability. EP involves using active and passive techniques (Frater & Ryan, 2001). In the past, EW systems were mainly concerned with the microwave spectrum region but nowadays it is continuously shifting to the longer wavelengths of IR and also to the visible region.
The current weapon systems are increasingly exploiting a mixture of sensors in order to overcome the adverse climatic conditions (Szweda, 2000). To such systems, countermeasures are also needed which include compact diode laser light sources. Additionally, small and light equipment which provide a wide range of sensors and countermeasures is also needed (Selex Galileo, 2009). Land environment EW systems in land operations are very important to the military since most of their operations are done on land.
In most countries their military forces are still equipped with old equipment which were utilized in the Second World War and thus are planning to adopt new ones. For instance, Canada has not yet adopted the new equipment and hence is planning to update its land EW equipment in a few years time (Farley & Gauthier, 2008). According to Bellamy (1987), developments in the weapons platforms and protection have taken place gradually and slowly, and the external appearance of the battlefield can easily be seen for the year 2000 or 2010.
However, in the EW field changes have occurred rapidly as new equipments are being made which serve the military better. The EW field has become like a battle field as military forces are trying to outdo each other. For instance, in equipping its military forces, the British government purchased the first soothsayer equipment at cost of about $220 million and was to start using it in 2006 (Deagel, 2003). Many countries inclusive of the United State of America are investing many funds in research on the EW systems in order to increase the military strengths (Szweda, 2000).
The primary bands of the radar and its frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum are VHF, UHF and it continues onwards. The commonly used wave frequencies by the US, NATO and other military forces, ranges from about 26. 5 GHz to about 170 GHz (Bellamy, 1987). The communication channel contains a band of frequencies, however, during communications the equipment are tuned to certain frequency in order to communicate with the other person on the other side. For high communication quality broad band are essential, but are usually prone to jamming and interception by another person who could be the enemy.
To avoid jamming or interception, narrow bands are therefore preferred and thus are most commonly used. On land EW systems and especially the radar components have many functions which are very useful to the military and some of them include; locating weapons, tracking shell, surveillance of battlefield, ground vehicle self protection, subsurface object detection, among others (Bretton, 1986). This information is essential for the military as it saves the lives of many military personnel. For instance, locating weapons allows military to detect land mines or bombs which have been laid down as a trap and hence are able to deactivate them.
There are several EW techniques currently being used. For instance the British army is equipped with soothsayer EW equipment which is used for detecting and identifying radar and radio signals on the battlefield. This equipment is usually mounted on lightweight and armored military vehicles. Currently, the neodymium-YAG laser is also being used as optical range finders, however, the equipment is undergoing improvement in order to increase its smoke penetration power (Margiotta, 2004). Another technique being utilized is the signal intelligence.
Signal intelligence (SIGNIT) This technique involves gathering intelligent information by intercepting signals between individuals using electronic equipment (Lindborg, 1997). It entails use of cryptanalysis since sensitive information is usually encrypted. Traffic analysis is also used in some cases to get valuable information. Through traffic analysis information concerning the sender and the receiver of that information and the quantity of information shared between the two individuals can be easily obtained (Shulsky & Schmitt, 2002).
This technique is broad and thus has many subdivisions; however, the two main subdivisions include communication intelligence (COMINT) and electronic intelligence (ELINT). Currently, the SIGNIT techniques also involves use optical devices thereby making it more effective and efficient. a) COMINT This type deals with voice information or messages which are derived from an interception of foreign communications (Lockwood, 2006). This technique is used for text interception, voice interception, signal channeling interception and for monitoring friendly conversations (Yusof, 1999).
Text interception is currently not being used by many military forces. Military forces of nations of the former Soviet Union are the still using it and it involves use of Morse code. Radio frequencies are scanned for character sequences and facsimile in order to get intelligence information. In voice interception the technique involves listening to voice communications over radios, telephones or through wiretaps. In cases where the communication is encrypted, the information is first decrypted through an intro-electric diagram process for it to be heard.
However, the interceptor has to understand the language used in order to get the information. Furthermore, the technique is also utilized to monitor own communication in order to avoid leaking intelligence information to the enemy. b) ELINT This involves use of electronic sensors to gather intelligence information. This technique focuses mainly on non-communication signals intelligence. The process entails signal identification through analysis of certain parameters, then matching the signal parameter with known parameters or recording it as potential new emitter.
The data collected is usually highly classified and hence given much security to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing it. The basic ELINT target are all radar types and these include fire control navigation, surveillance and all radars deployed on sea, land and even in the air. Other targets include navigation systems, data links, command links and telemetry links (Ince et al, 2000). In most cases and especially in times of peace, ELINT is performed regularly prior to a specific mission.
Peace operations have the objective of obtaining the maximum possible information on a complete electromagnetic radiation within the areas of interest in any particular nation. In such cases, special ships, satellites, aircraft and land based ELINT facilities are utilized which operate in comprehensive reconnaissance schedules. Maritime In the maritime environment, the EW systems have to meet their operational capability requirements in order to be effective and hence meet their objectives.
However, there is a high occurrence chance of adverse electromagnetic interference between the EW and sensor system, since the maritime platforms operate jointly and also the number of EW and sensor system fitted in the maritime platforms has been increasing continually (Dall’Armi-Stoks et al, 2007). EW systems are mainly utilized for intelligence gathering and for self protection. They are utilized for maritime surveillance because of their capability in detecting, classifying and identification of the targets by intercepting their communication and radar emissions.
However, they are not useful when the target element is observing ‘radio silence’ since there are no emissions of electromagnetic radiations (Ince et al, 2000). In target identification during surveillance, the method used by the EW systems involves finding several features in the intercepted signals which are unique to all emitters. These features mainly include; modulation, carrier frequency and stability, types and number of emitters, pulse width and pulse repetition frequency (Ince et al, 2000). Through the library carried by the interceptor, the target is identified.
The library is usually obtained through ELINT as it collects and records much data from non-communication equipment radiation. The EW systems are usually installed in submarines or vessels for combat. There are several modern equipments which are currently being used but in limited number because of their cost. One is the naval laser warning system which is installed in surface ships. This system enables the ship’s command team to detect the presence of laser activity in the surrounding (Saab, 2009).
They are essential for situation awareness as they allows individuals to detect any laser activity in their surrounding from the enemy. The laser warning system detects, classifies and identifies the threats and allows individuals to prepare themselves from any attack and to maneuver to safer locations. This system is also used in submarines for detection of anti-submarine LIDAR. Another EW system used is the submarine ELINT systems, which utilizes phase interferometer in order to increase accuracy when finding direction (Saab, 2009).
This system comprises of radar Warner receiver antenna, an ELINT antenna, and EW processing unit installed in the vessel. Air Environment In the air environment, EW systems are used mainly for jamming, finding direction and for intelligence analysis of the ground military forces’ telephone, radio and Morse transmissions. Currently, the EW systems being used use complex command and control communications to link command posts and other posts such as weapons and radar posts (Boyne & Fopp, 2002).
In the past EW systems in the air force were not taken to be vitally important, but in the recent years they have become one of the critical parts of the air force plans (Gons, 2004). This is because the effectiveness of an aircraft depends greatly on the ability of the EW system. EW systems are essential for the military force to maintain dominance in the air and space. In aircrafts, the use of barrage jamming by simultaneous blocking a wide range of frequencies is currently becoming outdated since it utilizes much electrical power (Brown, 1986).
Currently, lasers are being increasingly used because of their low power consumption, space saving, and many other advantages. A number of aircrafts are fitted with the modern optical devices which are entails use of lasers. One of the aircraft with modern optical devices is the air defense version of the Tornado (Brown, 1986). Optical devices used are the lasers radar which are considered to be less radical and helpful in visual recognition. There are also useful for aircraft recognition and tracking at long ranges which are usually achievable by air to air missiles.
However, lasers have very narrow frequencies and thus can easily be tracked or intercepted. Furthermore, currently transferring electronic warfare capabilities across multiple platforms is not possible (AFPN, 2008). This can be attributed to lack of data standard or hardware. Conclusion and recommendation EW system EM compatibility should be addressed and managed properly using the correct procedures put in place in order to reduce EM interference. Otherwise the process of eliminating electromagnetic interference will become expensive and might affect the operational capability of the entire EW system.
Consequently, adequate training might be helpful in ensuring that the proper procedures are followed. Ensuring that the right personnel have sufficient skills and knowledge on matters concerning EW system electromagnetic compatibility, interference problems will be greatly reduced. In addition to that, policies need to be developed and implemented to ensure that the correct procedures for addressing and managing the EW system electromagnetic compatibility are utilized. Policies will ensure that the technicians follow the proper procedures and not their own short cut procedures.
In managing the complexity and the capability problems related to electromagnetic radiation in the EW system, it is essential that the electromagnetic capability and interference be assessed during the stages of planning, designing and even the development of the system. In addition to that assessment should be done during the installation and operation of the electronic and electrical equipment and all the stages should be governed by the electromagnetic interference control plan. Additionally, more research needs to be done on the EW systems used in the aircrafts.
This is because transference of electronic warfare capabilities across multiple platforms is currently not possible. Since there is no data standard or hardware in existence, if one particular aircraft has tremendous capabilities against a certain threat, the capabilities have to be regenerated separately for other platforms. This process therefore wastes a lot time and money in regeneration of new aircrafts. This problem is not just affecting the air force but the entire military force. Researchers therefore need to concentrate more on weapon systems compatibility with electronic warfare programs.
With more research standardized EW programs that are compatible with all or majority of weapon systems will be developed. In spite of the lasers being easily intercepted, they provide a number of useful advantages which include accuracy and long distance coverage. In order to eliminate the disadvantages in using lasers, research is essential and thus researchers need to find ways of maximizing the advantages of lasers and minimizing the disadvantages. However, researches need many funds and thus governments and other organizations need to invest money in funding these researches.
Furthermore, an integrated approach is also needed that combines sensors, weapons, self protection systems and the centralized countermeasures systems. The approach entails use of preprogrammed automated control, command and communications networks which can transmit data from systems that collect it to EW systems. Consequently, a centralized command facility should be put in place which allows senior military officers to prioritize the threats and to determine the methods to use against that particular adversary system.
Additionally, an integrated intelligence system is required which combines the large amount of data collected by the sensors and then transforms it to useful information. In conclusion, funds are essential in achieving all the above recommendations. Researches and especially scientific researches are usually expensive as they require modernized equipment, enough scientist and engineers who have adequate skills and knowledge. Governments and other world organizations therefore need to invest more money in electro-optic EW systems since they provide many advantages which are cost effective and efficient and thus useful for peace missions.
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