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Nitschke S, Apr-2012. Airborne Electronic Warfare, Military Technology Issue 4/2012

Nitschke S, Apr-2012. Airborne Electronic Warfare, Military Technology Issue 4/2012

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Published by: Foro Militar General on Nov 05, 2012
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DSA FOCUS
Stefan Nitschke
Airborne Electronic Warfare
m
The RC-135V/W RIVET JOINT is the USAF's standard airborne SIGINT platform.(Photo: USAF)
Intercepting foreign signals canprovide information on an enemy'scapabilities and plans, as well asthe characteristics of radars andweapon systems. There is no doubtthat military forces require im-proved Electronic Warfare (EW)capabilities in wartime to cope withthe need to rapidly move throughconflict areas.
Airborne platforms are well performing
with-
in this scheme because changes in operationalconcepts are increasingly reflecting fundamen-tal shifts from the current "sensor-poor"
envi-
ronment to a "sensor-rich" environment.
Key Challenges forInformation Operations
EW systems are employed by Armed Forcesfor offensive and defensive purposes. They arerequired for the interception, monitoring, direc-tion finding (DF), collection, analysis, and re-cording of foreign non-communications (radar-band) electromagnetic radiations. EW is a silentand invisible war, using the full spectrum ofelectromagnetic energy to intercept, identify,locate, and counter hostile radars and commu-nications. As many nations do have a vitalrequirement of unrestricted and immediateaccess to sensitive, unfiitered, and ISR data innear real-time, manned and unmanned aircraftare seen as capable platforms fulfilling mis-sions ranging from the
SIGI
NT-gathering role toelectronic attack/electronic support (EA/ES)measures. Of high priority is Signals Intelli-gence (SIGINT), which is subdivided into twoprinciple disciplines. Electronics Intelligence(ELINT) and radio-band communications intelli-gence (COMINT).ELINT receiver devices are fifted to airborneplatforms to identify the location of shipborne,land-based,and airborne radar emifters, deter-mine their characteristics, and infer the charac-teristics of supported systems. Intelligence ishereby gathered by means of airborne plat-forms like Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) andspecialised SIGINT platforms, as well as - inincreasing numbers - unmanned platforms andsatellite systems. Among unmanned capaci-ties, the USAF's cancelled Block 30 GLOBALHAWK HALE UAV that is known as the "Multi-int configuration" of the RQ-4 platform, carriesan airborne SIGINT payload (ASIP) that
22
Military Technology • MiLTECH . 4/2012
 
DSA FOCUS
The EUROHAWK UAS carriesspecialised EW fits to include SIGINTpayloads or defensive sensors,which can perform a SIGINT role.(Photo: Northrop Grumman)
provides comprehensive capabilities forCOMINT, ELINT, DF, emitter geo-location, and telecommunications inter-ception.However, ELINT operations undertak-en by airborne platforms also involveRadar Intelligence (RADINT), Measure-ment and Signature Intelligence(MASINT), and Telemetry Intelligence(TELINT). The latter includes quantitativeinformation, which is derived from theinterception and analysis of telemetrydata from foreign missile, space, andaerodynamic vehicles. For example, theUSAF's two RC-135S COBRA BALL air-craft were in use since Operation "DesertStorm"to provide MASINT, TELINT andSIGINT during missile firing events andas a theatre ballistic missile detection
tool.
The RC-135S monitors missile-associated signals and tracks missilesduring boost and re-entry phases to pro-vide reconnaissance for treaty verifica-tion and theatre ballistic missile prolifera-
tion.
China and Russiaare Listening
The US and a limited number of othernations are not alone in deploying SIG-INT-gathering assets. Although China'sprincipal ELINT capabilities are very lim-ited to undertake peacetime airborneELINT missions across the South ChinaSea in an attempt to assess transmis-sions from US warships and aircraft, itsprincipal airborne platform includes theY-8DZ SIGINT derivative of China's Y-8turboprop-powered transport aircraft.The concentration of US Navy andRoyal Navy carrier-borne combat aircraftover Iraq and Afghanistan highlighted theimportance of Russia's surveillance
facil-
ities on Socotra Island (South Yemen). Inaddition to the Tu-142M-Z BEAR
long-
range ELINT aircraft and the Beriev A-50MAINSTAY surveillance aircraft operatedfrom various bases in Syria, SouthYemen, and Cuba, the Russian Navy operatesthe SRS-13 TANGAZH ELINT system installedaboard Su-24MP FENCER-F and Tu-22MRBACKFIRE aircraft, as well as the KVADRAT-2or ROMB ELINT equipment fitted to the II-20MCOOT-A (also known as the 11-18D36 BIZON).These platforms are employed to gain technicaland geo-location information from foreign radarstations, shipboard radars, IFF interrogators,cooperating ELINT units, and helicopter-basedradar surveillance and control systems.Additionally, the Russian VEGA 85V6-A ELINTsystem is being extensively used for the infor-mation support of major air defence, jamming.
Stefan Nitschi<:e is Corporate Editor of MönciiPubiishing Group.
Because they
go
where others can t.
when networks are overwhelmed, destroyed or nonexistent, Pathmaker" Network Radios deliver instantnetworked communications — anytime, anywhere. And our custom gateways extend the reach andflexibihty of Pathmaker Radios by connecting them to sateUite, IP, cellular and legacy radio networks.Because their radio is more than a tool, it's a lifeline.
www.gdc4s.com/pathmaker
Military Technoiogy • MiLTECH
4/2012
23
 
DSA FOCUS
The US Navy's P-8A POSEIDON aircraft,replacing the P-3C that has served theNavy since the 1960s as the primaryaircraft for ASW and ASuW,will be equipped for the ELINT role.(Photo: US Navy)The newly configured RC-12 GUARDRAILaircraft are equipped with a new high-bandCOMINT capability, an enhanced specialsignals processing capability to interceptcellular phone traffic, and an X-Multi-UserInteractive Digital Analysis System signalprocessor.(Photo: US Army)
ELINT, and EW units, as well as AEW&C andtargeting. The system is capable of simultane-ously detecting, identifying and tracking up to100 ground, naval surface and air targets witha reported over horizon target detection rangeof at least 400 kilometres.
The HERON UAS employed by Australia,Canada (shown), and India, carrying lAI EltaSystems' EL/K-7071 distinctive antennaarray, represents a very attractive alterna-tive to cope with modern dense communi-cations network environments.(Photo: lAI)
Airborne Platformsfor the Tomorrow's ThreatEnvironment
Armed Forces have learned from historyconcerning the use of SIGINT and ESM as acombat force multiplier. One capability, parti-cularly useful for the future detection of hostileactivities, certainly involves the variety ofunmanned platforms sensing for electroniccountermeasures capabilities (involving jam-
ming,
electronic deception, and other elec-tronic emanations) and intelligence on hostiledefensive positions and capabilities in order torequire a thorough knowledge of the enemy'sorder of battle.One such example is the Luftwaffe's jointforce EUROHAWK UAS. Replacing mannedSIGINT/ELINT capabilities based on the vener-able BR-1150 ATL, the new UAS carries aCASSIDIAN-developed SIGINT sensor pack-
age.
Supported by this 30kHz to 30GHzIntegrated Signals Intelligence System (ISIS)and the associated exploitation ground seg-ment, the UAS will be able to provide a stand-off capability to detect radar emitters (ELINT)and communications emitters (COMINT). Thenewly developed sensor package will improvethe detection and identification of electromag-netic signals from a variety of existing radarswith low-peak power levels and future lowprobability of intercept (LPI) radars. Preliminaryevaluations indicated that the exploitationground segment successfully processed innear-real time the sensor data transmitted bydata link and identified the detected emitterswith great precision.
Low Probability of Intercept (LPI)
The term LPI is being used to describeradars having low power outputs and usingwideband continuous wave (CW) signals,which pose difficulties to passive interceptreceiver devices like ESM, ELINT, or radarwarning receivers. Additionally, modern LPIradars possess very small side-lobes, makingthem hard to detect and to exploit by currentESM/ELINT systems in an attempt to extracttheir waveform parameters, necessary to pro-vide for the proper coherent jamming response.
Miiitary Technology • MILTECH
4/2012

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