February Spectrum SitRep

METEKSAN Merter Portable Jammer
Meteksan’s MERTER portable electronic warfare system is in service with the Turkish Armed Forces. It can jam radio-activated improvised explosive devices and assume other electronic warfare missions.

Armada’s monthly round-up of all the latest electronic warfare news in the product, programme and operational domains.

MERTER Makes its Debut

Meteksan told Armada that it began deliveries of its MERTER portable electronic warfare system to the Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri (Turkish Armed Forces) in December 2022. Designed as a counter-improvised explosive device system, the company said in a written statement that it has other applications. Although not specified this probably includes tactical communications jamming. Meteksan’s official literature says MERTER covers Very High Frequencies (VHF) of 30 megahertz/MHz to 300MHz. This lets it also attack VHF civilian and military radio communications. The statement added that MERTER detects threats and performs barrage and smart reactive jamming against multiple targets on multiple frequencies. Optional masts can extend MERTER’s range while directional antennas help attack threats on specific bearings. The company has not concluded any MERTER exports, but “recently started (international) marketing activities.”

Czech Army EW Developments

In late December reports emerged that the Armáda České Republiky (Czech Republic Army) had taken delivery of new VVU Brno STARKOM mobile communication jamming systems. STARKOM is an acronym for Stavebnicový Rušič Komunikační which translates as Modular Communications Jammer. Deliveries to the army’s 53rd Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare Regiment commenced in October. This unit includes a single electronic warfare battalion. The regiment supports the army’s manoeuvre formations, chiefly the 7th Mechanised Brigade and 4th Rapid Reaction Brigade. VVU Brno told Armada that eight STARKOM systems will be delivered to the army. Deliveries will conclude by the end of 2023. The statement continued that STARKOM is solely tasked with engaging communications threats.

The Czech Army is receiving eight STARKOM mobile communications electronic warfare systems that will be deployed with the force’s solitary electronic warfare battalion.

Ultra-Lite Moves Ahead

Northrop Grumman revealed in January it had successfully demonstrated key components of its Ultra-Lite naval electronic attack prototype system, according to a company press release. The document says that Ultra-Lite is a “scaled down, onboard (electronic attack) system for anti-ship missile defence for smaller ships.” Mike Meaney, Northrop Grumman’s vice president for land and maritime sensors, told Armada the company is “developing the system using our own funding under our core belief that this scaled-down system would be of critical value to the navy.” The company has used expertise honed for the US Navy’s Raytheon AN/SLQ-32(7) electronic warfare system in Ultra-Lite. Northrop Grumman is the lead contractor for maturing the AN/SLQ-32’s architecture to its AN/SLQ-32(7) status. More details regarding the AN/SLQ-32 programme can be found here. Greg Teitelbaum, maritime electronic and information warfare director at Northop Grumman added that Ultra-Lite “is being designed to rapidly meet the needs of any future potential programmes of record.” Mr. Teitelbaum said that the company believes a programme of record for such a scaled-down vessel electronic warfare system could emerge from the US Navy in the future. He said that Ultra-Lite is covered by US International Traffic in Arms Regulations but could be offered for international sale.

HawkEye Helps Slingshot

Slingshot Aerospace has awarded Radio Frequency (RF) data provider Hawkeye 360 a contract to provide data for the former’s space-based RF threat detection and monitoring services. This data will support Slingshot’s Low Earth Orbit Data Exploitation and Enhanced Processing (DEEP) initiative. DEEP is a US Space Force (USSF) programme, HawkEye 360 said in a press release. Adam Bennett, the company’s vice president of marketing told Armada that Hawkeye 360’s satellites “are feeding telemetry data into Slingshot Aerospace’s space-based monitoring programme.” This information is used “to detect RF threats that maybe disrupting the ability of the (Global Positioning System) to function.” Mr. Bennett added that “the analytics generated from this data helps the US Space Force’s Space Systems Command determine where hotspots of interfering activity may be occurring and characterise the impact.”

by Dr. Thomas Withington

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