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[infowar.de] Army Goes on the Electronic Attack
Army Goes on the Electronic Attack
Next stage of Prophet intelligence platform provides xpanded electronic
J. Michael Brower
News of the capture of a Navy E-P3 surveillance plane in 2001 by the
stunned everyone in the U.S. electronic warfare (EW) establishment,
including the Army's EW and information operations (IO) communities. But
silver lining in the episode, analysts say, was the highlighting of the
importance of electronic surveillance, EW and intelligence missions to
ensuring a ready response to threats to the United States or its allies.
The Army has not only noted the possible intelligence loses due to the
Chinese examination of U.S. technology, but also has gone far in
for the challenges of asymmetrical threats as well as future
challenges. Central to the Army's response is the Prophet platform and
integration of EW into Army doctrine.
Prophet, which is being developed under the Army Program Executive
Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S), is the Army's
primary tactical ground signal intelligence/electronic warfare
platform. While the Marines use separate ground platforms for EW and
electronic surveillance, Prophet uses one platform for the full tasking.
EW Battle Doctrine
To take full advantage of Prophet and other new systems, commanders need
know more about what EW can deliver, according to Lieutenant Colonel
Eassa, G3, Combat Arms Command, Ft. Leavenworth, KS. In the battle
terrorism, Army EW is evolving well beyond its traditional role in joint
suppression of enemy air defense and communications interference.
Technological capabilities in both EW and IO have accelerated beyond the
of many commanders and war planners struggling to ensure the tools are
available to win with minimum loss to blue forces. "We are still
land battle doctrine for integrating EW into the commander's toolkit,"
The introduction of any new Army weapon system requires a review of
operational doctrine. For Prophet Block II/III, the Army is reviewing
tactics, techniques and procedures for SIGINT/EW operations at brigade
below operations that include how this impacts other Army systems and
operations. The Army is also reviewing how electronic attack is employed
joint and coalition warfare in multiple mission environments.
"The role of EW in today's battlefield requires a rethinking of how
expeditionary forces will engage high-technology, well-educated enemies
the future who utilize extensive commercial off-the-shelf products,"
observed Richard Wittstruck, chief systems engineer for the PEO IEW&S.
"These 'silent warriors' are as critical to today's commander as the
munition or fighting vehicle, for they combat the 'invisible enemy'
In the eyes of veteran electronic warrior Daniel W. Hearn, however, EW
being under-emphasized exactly when it should be experiencing strong
Hearn, president of Boulder City, NV-based CH Enterprises, has been in
EW profession for 30 years as an EW officer and a leading Army
representative for NATO Land EW working groups.
While noting the "excellent progress" made by Army EW in the area of
countering certain classes of fuzed munitions with the Shortstop
protection system, Hearn contended that EW has yet to come into its own
senior level military officials. He pointed to several fundamental
challenges for the Army's EW community, including the loss of expertise
through attrition, a lack of combat development or acquisition activity
manage EW from an Army perspective, and insufficient training in EW.
"The enemy is not standing still," Hearn said. Today's warfare is "all
information. You find out where your adversary is vulnerable and strike.
Make sure you have lots of fire power, including EW options, where the
magazine of electronic bullets is endless."
EW is a big world that includes special-purpose-built systems that focus
the challenges of an individual mission, but at a high cost. Commanders
use EW for momentary advantage in a complex battle environment and for
disrupting weapons systems and C2 processes before forces engage.
At the moment, brigade-level implementation of EW needs attention from
battle planners, according to Eassa, who is working on developing joint
doctrine to keep up with a technological revolution. Eassa helped
general-officer-level steering group that included Lieutenant General H.
Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau-an indication of the
importance of the Guard and Reserve components in EW development.
"We're asking the senior leadership how they want IO and EW to perform
terms of strategic, tactical and stability operations. We have a joint
definition, of course, but EW and IO encompass many mission sets. EW
just about airborne jamming of radars. In its purest sense, EW is about
preventing and intercepting communications. How this impacts our work in
Iraq, Afghanistan and other hotspots in the global war on terror is what
we're still learning in the changed defense environment since 9/11,"
according to Eassa.
Spanning the Bandwidth
EW systems are employed for offensive and defensive purposes by all the
combatant commands. The systems span the bandwidth of the
spectrum (EMS), with radio frequency, directed energy (laser),
electro-optics, infrared, acoustic and seismic equipment, based on air,
ground and sea platforms. Commanders must select the best time and place
employing EW, which is effective against the electronic components of
of artillery and mortars, missiles and other munitions.
EMS technology and EW applications are in the process of further
transforming the digitized battlespace and have outrun Army planners,
experts contend. Consequently, control of the EMS during a modern battle
even more important to potential enemies. "The Army still requires a
electronic warfare officer," said Hearn. Without this talent,
in coalition situations, EMS conflicts can result in unintended
with blue forces or target miscues.
"The Army is constantly trying to catch-up when encountering surprise
of EMS technology, such as command detonation, remote controlled
detonations, malicious computer network intrusions or destruction of
airborne/ground platforms," noted Hearn.
Observers say that EW combat development needs to be more defined and
more training is needed. "The problem resides more with the way EW is
trained, if it is trained at all. Having recently retired from the
I know on several occasions my unit was not allowed to train their EW
capability because it interfered with civilian systems, or if it was
allowed, we were very limited in what ranges could be targeted,"
to a recent retiree who worked closely with EW programs.
Eassa pointed to the fact that different components of EW have a foot in
different camps, as is the case with IO. There is no combat development
activity specifically responsible for EW in the Army, he said.
"There is a very large gray area between C2 protection, force protection
EW, in my opinion," Hearn said. "In reading the DoD definitions for EW,
believe Shortstop and Stingray [electronic protection systems] are
EW. One could argue that Shortstop and Stingray are force protection
that use EW technology. We have lots of EW technology in various
For example, military intelligence, field artillery, unmanned aerial
vehicles and many other arenas cross over into the EW category, which
the question of whether the Patriot, Avenger and Sentinel systems are
command and control, force protection, EW or air defense artillery.
Hearn's solution is to revise and restructure joint doctrine addressing
EW revolution. "The Army commanders cannot possibly know what is in the
toolkit, because they have no EW staff to advise them or plan
synchronization. It is possible that some EW expertise resides with IO
planning cells," he explained.
The Army must continue to dominate the EMS because it is an essential
element of modern warfare, according to EW experts. "Weaponization of
technologies has and will continue to be of significant value to our
nation's defense preparedness," said Hearn. "From the early beginnings
radar and radio frequency countermeasure development in the field of
electronic warfare, there has been a proliferation of applications using
acoustic, seismic, radar, magnetic, radio frequency, electro-optics,
infrared and directed energy into the very fabric of our evolving
civilization-both military and commercial."
The deterrent aspect of dominant EW shouldn't be overlooked in the
age of pre-emptive and preventive warfare. "A strong military may not be
important in the future as protecting our technology-dependent
infrastructure from cyber attack. The military has historically
borders from traditional hostile forces. New roles for the military may
include protecting the electronic borders," Hearn said.
Prophet Block II/III
Prophet Block I, designed and produced by Titan Corporation, has been
combat-proven in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Block II/III is in the
design and development phase, with initial fielding planned for the
of fiscal 2005. Prophet Block II/III is envisioned to be the Army's
Force tactical ground SIGINT/EW solution, providing enhanced SIGINT
collection capabilities over Block I production systems and adding an EA
The next blocks of Prophet will have some extremely valuable features
the toolkit of field commanders, according to Ralph Whitney, a manager
Ground Station & Simulation Systems for General Dynamics, the prime
contractor on the Prophet project. "Block II/III will allow
of a wider variety of signal types over an extended frequency range,
20MHz to 3000MHz, detecting more modern signals of interest," he
Additionally, these new iterations will feature automatic and more
direction finding on all detected signals; automatic and manual receiver
tuning, which will improve operator and system performance; audio and
digital recording and playback, allowing later analysis; and stationary
short-halt modes to provide flexibility in operations.
The EA capability will include extended VHF frequency range, widening
jamming coverage link-standoff radio for longer-distance jamming, and
ability to target more modulation waveforms. EA will also be
auto-fill and priority target list capability, status indicators and
lockouts to improve performance.
"Precision stationary and omni-directional on-the-move modes will
flexibility in operations," said Whitney. What this means for commanders
the ability to network Prophet platforms to provide real-time detection
emitters, sensing situational awareness of enemy electronic signatures.
Operations in Iraq and in Afghanistan are creating heavy demands for
intelligence about enemy locations in urban environments. Prophet will
provide more collection ability from smaller and more mobile systems,
will provide greater interoperability with other SIGINT/EW equipment.
Improved reach-back capabilities will also allow faster analysis and
heightened comprehension about the enemy for field leaders.
"The ultimate goal is to get the right data in the hands of decision
in time to allow them to exploit that data to the fullest extent
The advanced stages of Prophet EA are also a non-lethal answer to
determining enemy locations and communication hubs. Backers say Prophet
actually reduce the necessity of missiles and artillery in some
avoiding or reducing concomitant collateral damage while pinpointing the
opposition and jamming enemy command and control communications.
In addition, countermeasure systems are designed to address two spectra,
infrared (IR) and radio frequency (RF), explained Wittstruck. "With the
preponderance of man-portable air defense systems [MANPADS] and
surface-to-air missiles leveraging IR and RF technologies for acquiring
tracking targets of interest, IR & RF countermeasures [IRCM, RFCM] are
implemented in many types and varieties in response to these threats."
The Army is accelerating the fielding of the advanced threat IR
countermeasure and common missile warning system (ATIRCM/CMWS)
ATIRCM/CMWS uses cutting edge technology to locate and defeat multiple,
simultaneous threats effectively, according to Wittstruck. "On the RF
the suite of integrated RF countermeasures will replace the plethora of
solutions that exist in today's battlefield. When combined, these two
suites [IRCM and RFCM] form a basis of EW protection that is
today's fast-paced technology environment," he said.
Meanwhile, software integration during the manufacturing stages has the
attention of Army program managers and contracting partners alike. "The
Prophet Block II/III system is being designed with the future in mind.
a software standpoint, the system needs to be modular and flexible
enable easy integration of new algorithms for detection and
of future signals of interest and new hardware subsystems, such as new
receivers or communications equipment. Additionally, the system needs to
easy to use by even an entry-level operator. The graphical user
must be intuitive and must operate similar to today's Windows-based
environments, which we are all accustomed to using," observed Whitney.
Interoperability has been central to General Dynamics' planning of EW
the Army, which is driving all of its SIGINT/EW platforms to conform to
Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) and Future Combat System
(FCS) architectures. "This will ensure that data from different
can be integrated and disseminated efficiently and effectively," said
The Army is in the initial stages of defining an emitter-mapping
for the FCS reconnaissance and surveillance vehicles (RSV). FCS plans to
leverage much of the Prophet Block II/III technology to detect and
position-fix emitters on the battlefield. The Army is also working with
British Ministry of Defence to enhance the interoperability of the two
nation's SIGINT/EW platforms.
Some analysts say Army practitioners in the field have not been taking
advantage of EW at the very moment when it might be best employed both
improve situational awareness and minimize casualties during the
pacification stage of operations in Iraq. "The focus of military
shifting from broad battlefield conflicts to more isolated operations
against specialized targets," said Whitney. Accordingly, "enhanced
capabilities are rising to the top of the priority list."
EW proponents agree on several areas: doctrine needs to be rewritten
eye toward integrating EW into the commander's tool-kit and resourced
staff management; multiple organizations are utilizing EMS technology in
programs without departmental guidance regarding priority, requirements
focus; and the IO community is often enamored by the technology,
and gadgetry, occasionally blinding it to the need for feasible,
EW capabilities for commanders.
"Without a proponent to inform the Army's leaders via the combat
and training processes, EW will fail to assist in the prevention of the
9/11," Hearn warned. "The future of EW will eventually die and become
non-existent in the Army without sound program management, POM funding
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