Management Issues

The EA-18G Growler is flown by the US Navy and RAAF. Its electronic warfare subsystems could benefit from technologies developed by the AMPEW programme.

Armada has been given details of the scope of the Airborne Multi-Platform Electronic Warfare (AMPEW) project launched by Australia and the United States last month.

A statement given to Armada by the Australian Department of Defence said that the AMPEW project will involve the US Navy’s Naval Air Warfare Centre’s Weapons Division and Naval Air Systems Command. On the Australian side it will comprise the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Defence Science and Technology Group. The statement noted that industrial partners in Australia and the US will also be involved.


The AMPEW will “design, develop, test and demonstrate technologies” for cooperative manned and uninhabited electromagnetic operations in the air domain, the statement said. These are intended to reduce aircrew workloads and automate command and control aspects of EW systems equipping crewed and uninhabited platforms. The technologies will apply to EW performed at stand-in and stand-off ranges. The crux of the effort is to devise ways EW resources can be best managed and allocated during missions.

This approach feeds directly into electromagnetic manoeuvre principles. These focus on using speed, deception and surprise to safeguard one’s own use of the spectrum while denying it to an adversary. Electromagnetic manoeuvre puts a premium on pace to ensure that friendly EW forces navigate the OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide and Act) loop faster than the enemy.


The six-year initiative hopes to yield technologies that can augment EW systems outfitting several platforms flown by both nations. These include Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic warfare jets, Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk naval surveillance helicopters flown by the US Navy, Royal Australian Navy and RAAF. Additionally, future implementations of technologies developed because of the AMPEW could improve the interoperability of US and Australian airpower.

by Dr. Thomas Withington