Armada’s monthly round-up of all the latest electronic warfare news in the product, programme and operational domains.
Northeast Information Discovery has launched its EMSO Master system which supports a variety of Electronic Warfare (EW) applications, the company said in a press release. EMSO Master is an “Artificial Intelligence accelerated mission computer” according to the company. Alongside EW, it can be used for spectrum management and compliance. The system can be installed in a vehicle, on a mast, in an airborne pod or in a building. Covering wavebands of 47 megahertz/MHz to six gigahertz/GHz, EMSO Master has up to 50MHz bandwidth on each channel. Supported EW applications includes jammer detection, spectrum monitoring, direction finding, geolocation and signal classification/exploitation. EMSO Master can also assist jamming missions.
In early March, BAE Systems announced the launch of its Storm Electronic Warfare Modules via a company press release. These modules provide a common core architecture intended to accelerate the delivery of software-based EW applications. The modules use a hardware baseline scalable design according to the platform or weapon they equip. The press release said these can include uninhabited or inhabited fixed- or rotary-wing aircraft, along with missiles.
On 7th March, Mercury Systems introduced its new Model 5585 and Model 5586 SOSA-aligned Xilinx Virtex UltraScale high-bandwidth memory, field-programmable gate array 3U VPX modules. A company press release said these can be used for EW, alongside radar applications. The modules’ high bandwidth memory gives an increase 20 times’ that of traditional DDR4 memory. These new products are designed to boost processing speeds in size, weight and power-constrained applications.
SIGN4L took advantage of Saudi Arabia’s inaugural World Defence Show to launch two new products. These were the firm’s backpack-mounted ActiveCell Communications Intelligence (COMINT) system. Reports say that this can detect and track cellphone emissions on 2G, 3G and 4G networks. Also on display was a new system called WiFinder. This smartphone-mounted software can gather covert COMINT. Specifically, it can monitor and track suspects and persons of interest using WiFi emissions from their devices.
Cerbair announced in late February, after Armada’s previous Spectrum Sitrep had gone to press, the award of a contract from the French prison service. This covers the provision of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) neutralisation devices, according to a company press release. Details of which prisons in France will receive these systems was undisclosed. However, the press release stated they will equip prisons in metropolitan France and abroad. The press release added that, in conjunction with Keas, Cerbair will supply jamming apparatus to prevent cellphone use in prison. The contract will see both companies provide these devices to “several dozen” French prisons. Up to two prisons per year will be thus equipped. Keas provides the MinKa-715 counter-UAV jammer and Blockio-903 communications jammer covering cellphone wavebands of 433 megahert/MHz to 5.8GHz. Likewise, Cerbair’s products include the Hydra, Medusa and Chimera counter-UAV systems. The press release did not disclose which specific products the companies would provide to the prison service.
Inzpire announced on 17th March that the company completed the delivery of a bespoke electronic warfare course to students from the British Army’s 14th Signals Regiment. Part of the army’s Royal Corps of Signals, 14th Signals Regiment is the force’s dedicated EW formation. According to an Inzpire press release announcing the news “this latest course … aimed to build on the participants’ existing knowledge. This will give the (army’s brigades and divisions) a cutting-edge Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) capability.” The course focused on “advanced theory, and its operational application in areas including radio frequency signal parameters, antennas, transmitters and receivers, radar system design and ELINT processing.”
In mid-March Hensoldt announced improvements to the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft’s electronic support systems. The company said in a press release that it had combined its Spectrum Battle Management Suite (SBMS) with the aircraft’s Electronic Warfare Data Analyser (EWDA). The latter is evaluation software supporting the Typhoon’s Praetorian integrated self defence system. The SBMS takes ELINT data and creates a picture of radar coverage across a given area. While the EWDA will take ELINT collected by Praetorian, the SBMS crunches electronic intelligence data gathered elsewhere. Hensoldt says that combining these two approaches gives the aircraft a robust ELINT picture to assist its missions.
Northrop Grumman will install AN/ALQ-257 Integrated Viper Electronic Warfare Suites on several US Air Force (USAF) F-16 Viper series combat aircraft in preparation for flight testing. The USAF Life Cycle Management Centre announced the news in mid-March. The company was selected in 2021 to develop and deploy a new self-protection for USAF F-16s. Installation of the AN/ALQ-257 systems on a small number of F-16s for flight testing is the result of a contract award to Northrop Grumman on 10th March. This will enable operational assessment of the AN/ALQ-257 to be made in 2023. This should pave the way for the production and deployment of systems onboard the rest of the F-16 fleet from 2024.
Also in March, Northrop Grumman said it delivered AN/ALQ-251 self-protection systems to the US Special Operations Command. These will be installed on USAF Lockheed Martin AC-130J Ghost Rider fixed-wing gunships. In addition, the AN/ALQ-251 will outfit the US Marine Corps’ MC-130J Commando-II special missions aircraft. Interestingly, elements of the AN/ALQ-251 are used in the AN/ALQ-257, according to reports.
The USAF has issued a broad agency announcement covering Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Solutions for Evolving Scenarios (SSES). The announcement is seeking “innovative research to develop emerging SIGINT real-time processing solutions to improve tactical information extraction, identification, analysis and reporting in support of the intelligence community.” The programme goal is to provide “situational awareness for worldwide signals and network intelligence sources; sensor data collection and processing with a network-centric approach; identification of critical processes to understand the adversarial battlespace, and multi-platform/multi-intelligence support to increase … coalition warfighting capabilities.” The project will culminate in the provision of “real-time tools to quickly assess and precisely pinpoint the right decision to mitigate the tactical threat and ensure battlespace dominance.” The initiative has a total of $49.9 million of available funding. Awards will be worth between $500,000 to $5 million and will not exceed 36 months’ duration.
Silentium Defence has won a contract to supply passive radars to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The company revealed in a press release that the contract was awarded in February. Silentium will supply its Maverick passive radar. Specific details regarding the scope, value and timelines of the contract are scant. Nonetheless, the project could see RAN vessels outfitted with a passive radar to help detect air and surface targets. Supplementing conventional naval Electronic Support Measures (ESMs), this could help warships detect targets via disturbances they make to emitters of opportunity like television or radio transmissions. Passive radar would help reduce a vessel’s use of conventional radar lowering her risk of detection by a hostile ESM.
by Dr. Thomas Withington