Elettronica’s EMSOpedia is the world’s first online encyclopedia covering electromagnetic support operations.

Elettronica launched the world’s first online electromagnetic spectrum encyclopedia in late March. We caught up with the company’s CEO Enzo Benigni to talk about this important publication.

The Italian electronic warfare house is 70 years old and as part of its celebrations, the company has launched the world’s first online, searchable encyclopedia, known as the EMSOpedia, covering Electromagnetic Support Operations (EMSO). Enzo Benigni, Elettronica’s chief executive officer and president, told Armada about this new publication and its significance.

Is the EMSOpedia the company’s birthday present to the electronic warfare community?

“It is our birthday present! As a leading company in the Electronic Warfare (EW) world, it was important for Elettronica to share something special with the community. Today, 70 years after its establishment, Elettronica is a global and integrated defence, security and cyber group.

We have always invested in research and development to maintain our market position and to predict future threats. We are heavily involved in the evolution of electronic warfare into EMSO. For this reason, to celebrate our 70th birthday, we wanted to collate all our knowledge in the EMSOpedia, our encyclopedia dedicated to EMSO, and share it with the global defence community. This is our way of saying thank you for the help the company has received from its stakeholders, institutions, the armed forces, academia and suppliers. The EMSOpedia is unique. There is no organic initiative using its broad taxonomy which also clarifies the myriad of interconnections between EMSO’s various topics. It is a tool that we hope will be useful not only for the armed forces, but also for the more general audience of academia, students, policy makers and journalists.”

Will the company update the EMSOpedia as new threats and technologies emerge?

“Of course. This is the start of our journey with the EMSOpedia. Elettronica maybe 70 years old, but we hope people will still be using the EMSOpedia in 70 years time! The huge reliance that EMSO places on technology makes it a fast-moving discipline. This means that the encyclopedia is very much a living document which will evolve alongside the EMSO domain.

Moreover, the civilian and military worlds are increasingly converging in the electromagnetic spectrum. The global economy is dependent on the spectrum in more ways than one can imagine. Meanwhile, electronics miniaturisation is giving people a growing number of devices which can access and exploit the spectrum. Thus the electromagnetic spectrum is a virtual yet critical international infrastructure. Protecting it is paramount.

We are confident that the EMSOpedia will be very helpful. It was important for us to share our knowledge with all our academic and institutional stakeholders and to build a foundation for further growth in EMSO knowledge.

We want the encyclopedia to be seen as an ‘open project’ for all experts and practitioners who can make qualified contributions to increase knowledge.”

As we look at the ongoing conflicts and tensions around the world, it seems that EMSO is more relevant than ever. Do you hope that the EMSOpedia will help people who are not specialists understand what is happening in the electromagnetic spectrum?

“Absolutely. Recent events in places like Ukraine and Syria have shown how important the electromagnetic spectrum is to military operations. This is not a domain we can ignore. EMSO now matters to everyone and because of this, everyone needs to have a basic understanding of how EMSO works. In fact, through the appropriate management of the electromagnetic spectrum you can guarantee levels of effectiveness in the management and implementation of defence and security operations never previously achieved.

The electromagnetic spectrum is increasingly emerging as a dimension in its own right, synonymous with traditional sea, land, air and space domains. At the same time, the spectrum is intrinsic to the success of any operation. For example, I think about the future convergence of electronic warfare and Cyber Warfare (CW). Today the access and manipulation of data and information carried by the electromagnetic spectrum lets us foresee many additional capabilities. In other words, the spectrum is an entry point for cyber. EW and CW can be used in conjunction. They are thus two sides of the same coin and are referred to as Cyber EW or Cyber Electromagnetic Activity (CEMA).”

The EMSOpedia is a major achievement for the company. Looking back over the last 70 years, which other achievements is the company most proud of?

“Elettronica has many achievements to be proud of. We started in the 1951 with 25 employees and now our Group has over 1000 and six representative offices around the world. Over the years, the core business has been enriched by new competencies and a more focused value proposition through two subsidiaries, Elt GmbH, the 100 percent owned German subsidiary acknowledged as a centre of excellence in homeland security, and CY4GATE, listed on the AIM Italian stock exchange since June 2020 which specialises in the cyber domain. Today, 70 years after its establishment, Elettronica is a global and integrated defence, security and cyber group.

Seven decades of experience helps the company anticipate and counter future threats. From analogue to digital technology; artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber, Elettronica is at innovation’s leading edge.

We have been involved with scores of leading European defence programmes like the Typhoon combat aircraft, where we were heavily involved in the design of its defensive aids subsystem, along with the FREMM frigates, NH-90 helicopter and the Italian Navy’s PPA patrol ships.

Most importantly, the company’s products and expertise have helped save lives. I am proud of the fact that thousands of aircrew, soldiers and sailors have been protected by our systems and have returned safely after their missions thanks to the products that our scientists and engineers have worked tirelessly to develop. I am also proud of the world-class innovation that we have led at Elettronica, and how we continue to anticipate new technologies and products that will save lives in the future. Elettronica has been and will continue to be the point of reference in the management of the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) for security and defence. An increasingly strategic competence at a time when mastering the EMS has become the enabling dimension for success in the sea, land, air, space and cyber domains.

I like to talk about our first 70 years as the starting point for new challenges, we have made the future an actual part of our history, above all with the help of enabling technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber.”

The EMSOpedia can be found at www.emsopedia.com.

by Dr. Thomas Withington