Navy Places Priority on Advancing Electronic Warfare

Navy Places Priority on Advancing Electronic Warfare

The Pentagon’s second ranking civilian said the U.S. military must invest in electronic warfare capabilities or risk putting the U.S. at risk against near peer militaries like China.

“The time to start investing in the next generation of electronic warfare is now,” said Christine Fox, acting deputy defense secretary.

The Navy is stepping up its offensive and defensive electronic warfare, or EW, technologies through testing, new programs, research and training as service leaders recognize the pace of global technological change and the likelihood that they will need to operate in more contested electromagnetic environments.


Led by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert — who wants all sailors to possess a sophisticated and informed understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum — the service is working on technologies designed to improve the potential use of electronic signals on ships.

Navy officials explain that the service was adept at addressing EW issues during the Cold War but that near-peer kind of focus has dropped off over the last 12 years of war.

“We have to be more mindful of how we operate in the electromagnetic domain – and in cyber space and how those capabilities come together,” said Margaret Palmieri, Navy director of Integrated Fires, Information Dominance.

Navy ships today have signals exploitation technologies wherein they assess and conduct analysis upon electromagnetic signals and identify EW threats, Palmieri explained. One such program is called Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program.

“The electromagnetic spectrum on an aircraft carrier is incredibly complex, given the number of antenna, the number of radars and the number of electronic systems and the information that you need to deal with,” she said.

In terms of preparing for the future, however, some of the current work involves technical efforts to give ships an increased ability to conduct offensive EW operations or use electromagnetic energy to thwart the signal of an incoming missile.

“The vision for the future is to take what are collection, exploitation and early warning capabilities and turn them into offensive ways to use electronic attack,” Palmieri explained.

For instance, it may prove more efficient to use electromagnetic warfare to disable the signals of an adversary without resorting to a missile attack

“If we can go after the command and control or the ISR pieces of that threat instead of putting a missile against a missile I can potentially disrupt that missile’s ability to find its target,” said Palmieri.

The Navy’s ongoing Next-Generation Jammer, or NGJ, program, designed to replace the 1970’s ALQ-99 pod, is also aimed at increasing offensive EW technology. The NGJ program, to be operational by 2020, is designed for the Navy’s EA-18G Growler aircraft.

Also, Palmieri explained that the Office of Naval Research is working on a new prototype EW technology called Integrated Topside, or InTop, designed to provide a greater range of EW flexibility and applications on a ship.

“Instead of having a number of antennae for different applications, we are looking at it from a wide spectrum and developing the ability to integrate all those apertures.  Creating a shared aperture array able to take in signals from a wide range of frequencies and share them allows us to reduce the amount of hardware topside on the ship and make the capabilities on our ships much more agile,” she added.

InTop is a naval prototype program which aims to reduce apertures through the use of integrated, multi-function and multi-beam arrays, according to ONR officials. The program, which has contracts with as many as 18 different vendors, works because RF functions simultaneously share apertures and signal processing through the use of a central resource allocation manager.

Navy officials said a big part of the push to modernize EW technologies through programs like InTop is grounded in the importance of what’s called open architecture. Essentially, this involves an effort to ensure that new hardware and software can more seamlessly integrate with existing systems.

Much of Greenert’s and the Navy’s effort is focused on educating sailors and Navy officers about the nuances of an electromagnetic signature, including those emitted signals which provide indications to a potential adversary.

“He (CNO) looks at the number one pieces as spectrum awareness and understanding our signature. What does the enemy see of us? We need to make sure that we are presenting ourselves to them the way we want to.  We are working on better understanding how networks and signals and networks and information come together. What do we really look like to the enemy?” Palmieri asked.

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“InTop” is intended to reduce the number of topside apertures on Navy ships by using integrated, multifunction and multibeam arrays. But those apertures should also be larger. With apertures, there is big advantage in larger size. The Ticos and Arleigh Burkes are not large enough to support much larger apertures.

Navy already needs a much larger and more poweful radar in the CSGs, and they will get the power increase in AMDR, but against increasingly faster and stealthier threats, they need AMDR with aperture much larger than the 14 foot equivalent diameter aperture version now planned for the A-B DDG-51 flight III which already imposes excessive compromise. AMDR can scale beyond 36 foot equivalent diameter.

Navy needs AMDR, but also needs a new class of cruisers, much larger to carry those much larger apertures and a large load of missiles to provide air and missile defense in the CSGs against swarms of faster and stealthier threats. That new large cruiser needs the speed and endurance of the CVN it would operate with, needs large power generating capacity, needs nuclear power. Navy needs a new class of CGNs to operate in the CSGs to keep those CSGs and their CVNs viable against peer level adversary.

Navy is also facing increased threat from submarines, and therefore needs some A-B DDGs that are better optimized for ASW, which they could do if they had a CGN well optimized to provide air and missile defense.

I hear ya JRT. What we need to do to get back into nuclear powered ship. Nuclear power makes total sense, it may have some higher up front cost, but with the new designs we have now, they will last the life of the hull-20+ years without refueling. The new designs are also quieter and require much less manpower. Lastly, there is the promise of much more electrical power compared to our current designs.

The only thing that can keep pace with the carrier is another carrier, but a nuclear powered cruiser with similar if not better speed than the carrier is needed.

Perhaps something along the USS Long Beach size. There’s not need for stealth here, it’s all about high powered radars, jammers, lots of missiles, lasers, and toughness (hard to kill)

The navy, to its credit, has been investing in EW all along, for example, by purchasing F-18-based Growlers. The USAF, in comparison, we “all-in” on stealth, despite advances in stealth detection technologies and techniques — according to a number of defense related sites and news sources.

Here’s hoping we never find out if the USAF’s bet was a poor one.

well, it the backwater Serbs with their hand me down equipment can find, track, and shot down a “stealth” aircraft (F-117) then anyone can do it

I wonder what they are going to do against missiles that use inertial navigation systems to get close and passive optical sensors for terminal guidance? This Navy is locked in to a 1970’s mind set. A 21st Century Navy would blow them out of the water.

There is no stale mindset in this. Disrupting a link in the kill chain reduces the probability of completing that kill chain.

Warships in the CSG are not passive stationary targets. An inertial guidance system helps to keep the missile on course, but PLA needs to find and track a target ship before the fire control system can feed that course into the missile guidance system to get it moving in the right direction, and later needs to communicate course correction(s) to the missile because the target likely changed course to avoid being hit.

Radar systems have vulnerabilities. Communication systems have vulnerabilities. Optical systems have vulnerabilities. Missiles can be hit in flight. As mentioned above, disrupting a link in the kill chain reduces the probability of completing that kill chain. Chains with stronger and/or redundant links are more difficult to break. Swarms may overwhelm defenses or may merely present a target rich environment, depending on the adequacy of that defense against the attack.

No small consideration for any country with an anti-ship missile is that throwing that dart at a CSG is an act of war.

I think its good the Navy will look into EW technologies. But given the Navy and Army’s waste in BIG item crap doubt they will see the day light any time soon.

PS its BS to say China is a peer nation in ship and plane tech to the US now, more scare tactics to get more money to waste..

A SAM battery gets lucky on an F-117 that kept using the flight path day after day means and that means stealth aircraft are useless? That was the only F-117 lost to enemy fire in its 25 years of service.

For awhile the USAF had a highly capable ECM platform in the form of the EF-111A Raven, it is unfortunate we allowed that to be sacrificed to the budget gods.

>I wonder what they are going to do against missiles that use inertial navigation systems to get close and passive optical sensors for terminal guidance?

As JRTs waffling points out so nicely they don’t even understand the question. LOL

You’re describing some old technology and there are mechanisms to defeat Inertial/Optical weapons.

In most cases, it isn’t too difficult.

Hey, I’m man enough to admit that NO, I do NOT understand in detail all the techie stuff posted here.…
Won’t pretend that I do understand it.…
But, I’m also clear-headed enough, humble enough, and sane enough to know when a bunch
of semi-educated wannabes are spouting acronyms and arcane jargon to impress themselves.…
I’m pretty sure neither the Navy, nor the PLA places too much importance on what WE say HERE.…
But their *Social*Network*Analysts* are having a field day, I bet.….
From a certain perspective, we do tend to come off as a bunch of idiot blow-hards.…
Hey, “JRT”, you want some butter and syrup, with all those WAFFLES?.….
.…—>I’m sure the Navy’s Q27-rX9 plizmosaur will do more damage than either Godzilla, or Mothra.…
Bio-electro combo-netics, combined with advanced digi-state transfer tech should render moot the PLA’s plans, right, “oblatt2”.…????.…isn’t that about what you’re getting at?.….Roger, over.….

Next Generation Jammer Could be Redundant, GAO Says —

GAO issued two recommendations for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel; discuss areas of potential overlap with the Navy and Joint Staff, and include information on the “potentially overlapping capabilities among systems” in its Electronic Warfare Strategy report to Congress. Specifically, the agency wants DOD to address potential overlaps between NGJ and the Electronically Attack Enabled AESA Radar, CEASAR, Intrepid Tiger II and Multi-Function Electronic warfare, all of which are either already equipped on military aircraft or currently in development. “While none of the new programs planned duplicate NGJ capabilities, new areas of overlap and potential duplication could emerge as these plans continue to evolve,” GAO said. — See more at: http://​www​.aviationtoday​.com/​a​v​/​c​o​m​m​u​n​i​c​a​t​i​o​n​s​/Ne

Looks like the EA-18 will need to be airworthy for another decade or 2, AT LEAST.…
We will need SOME manned airframes. Can’t have ALL drones. That wouldn’t be sporting.…
Thanks, Paul, for providing us clear data in your first post here… Welcome!
The BRASS most needs concise, accurate and easy-to-understand information about the technology
they must command troops to employ, whether in training, or combat.
And the leaders of the future are still in training NOW. Peace through strength. And superior
firepower, competently commanded.….

Ok it might apply to me once in a while but JRT? He does everything except trowing random acronyms.

The only thing I have to say is that it’s not because some guidance system were first used in the 50s or 70s that they are irrelevant today. I think that those missiles tend to rely on more than a sole guidance system anyway.

As example, some bomb use microphone to count how many floor it passed through so it can detonate and create maximal damage. As archaic as it might sound, it work. No reason to trow that approach in the garbage because it doesn’t have the all new hype. As long as it continue to have desired characteristic it will remain relevant, even as a fail-safe.

Nuttin’ personal. No offense meant.

Ah yes, the Navy of smoke and mirrors. I should have known.

The Navy and every other part of the damn federal government had better start worrying about what I have to say. I pay their damn salaries and thus have not only a right but a responsibility to see that MY MONEY is being spent wisely and not on one stupid boondoggle after another. If you want to stick your head in the sand, the world needs a lot fewer of you anyway.

I don’t pretend know alot about EW but it’s not rocket science — enough to know that complete reliance of the current Kill Chain and the entire operating theater on EW just goes to show how inept 90 percent of decision makers are in the art of war — most of them who could not defend this country against a well organized military-could not pour beer out of a boot if the instructions were writen on the bottom of it. Just thinking out loud simple — One well placed EMP would disable the kill chain. Nothing like the industrial military complex pushing this stupidity.

Although you’re trying to throw water on my post, you are actually not far off. Some of what you mentioned are definitely a part of the solution. For What Its Worth, that solution is well tested and is in use every day in many places.

Oh wow. . EMP hardening! Why didn’t someone think about that?

Never mind that Systems built since the 80’s were designed to work in an EMP environment and stuff from before that has been EMP hardened.

You said that you don’t know a lot about EW. I’ll bet that you don’t know much about EMP either.

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