Army Testing Improved Electronic Jamming Technology

Electronic WarfareThe Army is testing a series of new electronic warfare technologies designed to address a wider range of threat signals in the electromagnetic spectrum, service officials said.

Electronic warfare can be used for a wide range of combat functions to include jamming or thwarting an electronic signal used to detonate an IED, identifying enemy communications or electronic signals, and attacking or disabling enemy electromagnetic signals.

The new EW technologies are being engineered to detect, respond to and operate in a wider range of frequencies to provide commanders with more offensive and defensive options. They are being designed as upgradable hardware and software that can accommodate new threat information as emerging signals are learned, Army officials said.

“The nature of the electromagnetic spectrum is such that it is increasingly contested and increasingly congested. You must be able to attack in the spectrum and defend in the spectrum and also ensure that you manage the spectrum. In order to do all of these things, you must gain and maintain an advantage in the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Col. Jim Ekvall, electronic warfare division chief.

The new EW systems will be configured to go on unmanned aircraft, helicopters and vehicles, among other platforms, Ekvall added.

One of the new technologies now in development is called Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool, or EWPMT, which allows commanders to synchronize and integrate a host of electronic warfare signals. EWPMT is slated to be ready by 2016.

Another new system, scheduled to enter formal production in 2021, is an offensive system called Multi-Function EW.

“This is an offensive oriented system consisting of airborne, mobile vehicle, man-portable and fixed-site applications. All of these variants are offensively oriented. In other words they are used to attack the enemy’s command and communications and other things that use the electromagnetic spectrum,” Ekvall said.

Defensive Electronic Attack, or DEA, is another Army EW system which attacks the enemy by preventing enemy EW systems from damaging personnel, materiel and buildings, Ekvall added.  DEA is slated to enter production in 2023 after the Army completes an expected analysis.

The Army’s experience learning how to jam IED-detonating signals in Iraq and Afghanistan during more than a decade of combat has greatly informed the current EW modernization effort.  As a result, the new technologies will be scalable, meaning they are being engineered to accept new frequencies and threat signal information as needed.

For example, IED-detonating electronic signals began with simple garage door openers or remotely-controlled electronic devices – and then quickly migrated to more advance frequencies using a wider range of devices such as cellphones and other technologies.  New EW hardware, therefore, is being configured to accept software updates when new threat information is learned, Ekvall explained.

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior.
  • blight_weroasdfl

    Should we be concerned about the next generation of anti-radiation weapons applied to ground warfare? Nation-state foes will just aim for the most powerful EMR source.

  • Sev

    Do we have contingencies for when our information and EW capabilities are crippled by similar attacks? We are heavily reliant in GPS and computers and comms. Can we operate effectively without them? Do we have old school equipment to operate in a blackout environment?

  • tudor

    considering the Russians jammed US Destroyer Donald Cook, this year (as different sources have reported) then i think that the US should step up their game in this field.

  • JJMurray

    The Army came to the EW world late in the game but they’ve had their eyes opened and are aggressively pursuing advantages now. Too bad the USMC is heII bent on getting rid of their EA-6Bs with no foreseeable replacement and retreating significantly from the EW world. Of course the Navy is loving it. They’re already looking to expand their Growler fleet, manning, and budget to pick up the slack from the USAF and USMC.

  • Jerry

    Stop telling everyone what we’re doing!

  • Enrico

    we’re just discussing overt ew applications, nothing wrong with that

  • Vitsing

    Is the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool (EWPMT) just another Stovepipe Capability or does it somehow (not mentioned) integrate with the Army’s Battle Command system?

  • !@#$%^&*

    This type of technology was definitely reverse engineered. ya’ll hear about the Qaher 313 chasing after a