Cool Tools

The US Army’s EWPMT is at the heart of the force’s operational EW capabilities. The system is being incrementally enhanced via a serious of ‘Capability Drop’ upgrades the latest of which, CD3, is being implemented.

Raytheon has told Armada Analysis that it is working on the so-called Capability Drop-3 (CD3) incarnation of the US Army’s Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool (EWPMT).

The EWPMT and its Raven Claw derivative constitute the Command and Control (C2) systems used for the planning and execution of Electronic Warfare (EW) missions. Specifically, the EWPMT enables the analysis of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and the planning of appropriate electronic or cyber attacks against hostile emitters. Raven Claw is the portable, laptop-based incarnation of the EWPMT. According to a written statement provided by Raytheon to Armada Analysis Raven Claw “provides remote control and management of assets for both mounted and man-portable electronic attack and support devices. It provides a picture of the electromagnetic operating environment, informed by a network of sensors, to mission command systems to assist the commander in decision-making for the employment of kinetic/non-kinetic effects.” Raven Claw supports the analysis of data captured by SIGINT sensors which is then sent upwards to the EWPMT.

The EWPMT enables the planning and execution of electronic and cyber attacks, and the battle damage assessment of those attacks: “EWPMT supports the Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) in collaborating and sharing information for courses of action decisions … It provides situational awareness for the brigade combat team commander, and it brings 29 series soldiers (EWOs, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers) into the virtual command post to de-conflict and manage the spectrum.” The EWPMT and Raven Claw ensemble has already been deployed in support of US Army units stationed in Europe from 2018, initially with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 1st Infantry Division of the 2nd Brigade.

The EWPMT and Raven Claw are being roiled out in phases: Phase 1 comprises four spiral enhancements; CD1, CD2, CD3 and CD4. CD1 allowed the EWPMT/Raven Claw architecture to perform EW mission planning and electronic attack targeting. CD2 conferred the ability to perform dynamic spectrum management. This is an important consideration to avoid electromagnetic fratricide i.e. the danger that one’s own emitters will be inadvertently jammed during electronic attack missions. CD3 will cover the integration of additional US Army sensors beyond those already connecting with the EWPMT/Raven Claw architecture. Presently the US Army uses L3 Linkabit’s AN/MLQ-40(V) Prophet SIGINT collection vehicle and General Dynamics’ AN/MLQ-44(V) Prophet Enhanced platform which can gather SIGINT either stationary or on the move. The latter includes a manpack SIGINT system facilitating dismounted SIGINT collection. The AN/MLQ-44(V) and AN/FLQ-15(V)3 Ground Auto-Targeting Observation/Reactive Jammer are mobile and fixed-site SIGINT and electronic attack systems. As well as these legacy EW systems, new US Army capabilities can connect to the EWPMT/Raven Claw architecture. These include the Terrestrial Layered System and the EW Tactical Vehicle: The latter is used on a MaxxPro Dash mine-resistant/ambush protected four-wheel drive vehicle. This carries the Tactical EW System (TEWS) reportedly closely based on the SRC AN/VRC-12(V)5 Sabre Fury EW system. The AN/VRC-12(V) is in turn based on the firm’s AN/VLQ-12 series CREW (Counter Remote Controlled Improvised Explosive Device EW) Duke system. Raven Claw directly connects to the Versatile Radio Observation and Direction Finding Modular Adaptive Transmitter (VMAX) and the TEWS. Whereas TEWS is vehicle-borne, the VMAX is a dismounted system providing soldiers with the capability to locate and jam threats.

Raytheon stated that CD1 and CD2 have already been delivered. It continued that CD3 will add all of the capabilities of Raven Claw to the EWPMT. CD1 allowed EW officers “to look at the spectrum across the area of operation to plan, coordinate, manage and deconflict EW activities.” CD2, meanwhile, enhanced the EWPMT’s ability to aid spectrum management: “Spectrum management planning involves the ability to plan out how forces manoeuvre through the spectrum without impacting friendly forces’ capabilities,” Raytheon’s statement noted. CD3 will also allow the EWPMT to be used in a “mission environment against threats.” Over the longer term, a cyber capability could be added to the EWPMT enabling it to be used for the mission planning, management and command and control of cyber warfare: “EWPMT has a flexible and open architecture, which enable us to include cyber capabilities that can support multi-domain operations. That includes combining cyber and EW operations.” The firm states that it has already demonstrated such capabilities as a result of its internally-funded Cyber and Electromagnetic Battle Management (CEMDM) initiative which could extend the EWPMT’s capabilities to tactical cyber operations, and the management and remote control of cyber and EW assets, the company continued. The US Army also expects to roll out CD4 into the EWPMT/Raven Claw architecture. Official US Army documents state that this could allow the remote control and management of disparate EW assets, and enhance the systems’ targeting capabilities. It does not appear to have been disclosed by the force whether this will see cyber capabilities being added to the EWPMT, and the possible timelines for CD4’s implementation.

by Thomas Withington