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Electromagnetic Warfare

High Power Microwave and High Energy Laser Defending an Installation_050823A
[Notional Depiction of High Power Microwave and High Energy Laser Defending an Installation - The US Department of Defense]


- Overview

Electromagnetic warfare (EW) is a military action that uses electromagnetic energy to control the electromagnetic spectrum or to attack an enemy. EW uses signals such as radio, infrared, or radar to sense, protect, and communicate. EW can also disrupt, deny, and degrade an adversary's ability to use these signals. 

The basic concept of EW is to exploit the enemy's electromagnetic emissions to provide intelligence on their order of battle, intentions, and capabilities. EW can also use countermeasures to deny effective use of communications and weapons systems.
EW systems have three main capabilities: 

  • Sensing the environment
  • Analyzing the environment
  • Responding to the environment

Examples of EW include: 

  • Flares
  • Chaff
  • Low-observable technologies
  • Towed decoys
  • Protection jammers
  • DE infrared (IR) countermeasures


- Cutting-Edge, Next-Generation Technology

Threats are rapidly evolving, and adversaries are attacking in unprecedented ways. With wide bandwidth, near-instantaneous detection, and industry-leading signal processing, modern electronic warfare consists of 4 important components. Electronic Attack (EA), Electronic Support (ES), Electronic Protection (EP), and Mission Support current and emerging threats. 

In most military disciplines, the terms "attack," "support," and "protect" are often platform-centric. What is unique about electronic warfare in current American doctrine is that these terms apply to electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) access—rather than viewing them from a platform-centric perspective. 

Emerging research and development addresses some of the most critical defense and intelligence problems in advanced electronics, autonomy, cyber, electronic warfare, sensors and signal processing in the United States and globally. Each of these technologies is leveraged in distributed electronic warfare capabilities, as are anti-jamming/electronic protection, multispectral electronic warfare, cognitive electronic warfare, electronic warfare demonstration systems, and more.


- Electronic Support (ES)

Electronic Support (ES) follows operational directives to rapidly detect, intercept, identify, and track electromagnetic energy sources to identify threats, collect targeting and signals intelligence data, and inform future operational planning. That's why ES threat detection is often considered an electronic warfare intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) mission that also includes geolocation and direction finding capabilities.

The electronic support (ES) describe the division of electronic warfare involving actions taken under the direct control of the combatant commander to detect, intercept, identify, locate, record and/or analyze sources of radiated electromagnetic energy For immediate threat identification, prompt electronic attack (EA), situation assessment or long-term operational planning.

As such, electronic support provides the source of information needed for decisions involving electronic attack (EA), threat avoidance, targeting, electronic protection (EP), and other tactical use of forces.


- Electronic Protection (EP)

Electronic protection (EP) involves protecting a nation's personnel, facilities, and equipment from electronic attack (EA) by hostile forces that could disrupt or disrupt its operational capabilities. This threat mitigation is accomplished using a variety of airborne and non-airborne systems that employ networked and multispectral radio frequency/infrared (RF/IR) tools to detect, analyze and initiate responses to known and potential threats.


- Electronic Attack (EA) aka Electromagnetic Attack

Electronic attack (EA) aka electromagnetic attack is the strategic use of electromagnetic or directed energy weapons to attack an enemy military's electronic infrastructure to reduce or eliminate its operational capabilities. This includes threat analysis and response, as well as countermeasures such as signal jamming, electromagnetic spoofing (spoofing), lasers, radio frequency (RF) weapons, or any combination of the aforementioned electronic warfare tools to achieve threat elimination.


- Mission Support

Mission support ensures that ES, EP, and EA all have the resources they need to deliver, including operational analytics to measure strengths and weaknesses to adjust as needed, mission planning and management tools, equipment testing systems, maintenance aids, and more. Not providing mission support will impair the performance of ES, EP, and EA, which is unacceptable.


- Electronic Warefare Systems

An electronic warfare (EW) system is any electronic warfare technology configuration designed and manufactured for use on one or more air, ground, sea, or space platforms to perform military or intelligence missions. These configurations typically consist of multiple electronic warfare devices and scalable subsystems that work together, including multiple subsystems that house multiple devices in a single unit.

  • Electromagnetic Warfare
  • Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM)
  • Antennas / Antenna Arrays
  • Anti-Jam Electronic Protection Systems
  • Anti-Radiation Missiles (ARM)
  • Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS)
  • Countermeasures Dispenser Systems (CMDS)
  • Digital Electronic Warfare Systems (DEWS)
  • Directed Energy Weapons
  • Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM)
  • Electronic Support and Attack Platforms
  • Electronic Warfare Self-Protection (EWSP) Suites
  • Electromagnetic Shielding / Hardening
  • Emissions Control (EMCON) Systems
  • Geospatial Location and Exploitation Systems
  • Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Systems
  • Infrared (IR) Missile Warning System
  • Multi-INT Data Sensors with Machine Learning-based Processing
  • Multi-Spectral Situational Awareness Sensors
  • Passive Active Warning Survivability Systems
  • Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) / Laser Warning Receiver (LWR)
  • Radio Frequency Countermeasures (RFCM)
  • Resilience-in-Depth Cyber Systems
  • Signal Jammers 



[More to come ...]



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