The future of military technology: Electronic Warfare systems

The future of military technology: Electronic Warfare systems

Electronic warfare (EW) is any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum, basically the set of electromagnetic waves, from radio waves, visible light, infrared, X-rays, microwaves… everything is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Thus, the purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of the electromagnetic spectrum and to guarantee unhindered access to it.

The first documented act of EW occurred during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) when a Russian captain requested permission to overwhelm the Japanese communication networks using a stronger radio signal. Although he did not get permission and the battle ended up leaning towards the Japanese, the precedent was set.

Taking into account that this technology aims to have control over radio waves, the internet signal, electricity and other energy sources, it allows those who have it detect threats long before they can be seen, be it in the air, in the water, on land and even in space. They are capable of instantly detecting any communication in the bandwidth and are based on the four pillars of EW: electronic support (ES), electronic protection (EP), electronic attack (EA) and mission support. .

Electronic support is based on rapidly detecting, intercepting, identifying and tracking electromagnetic energy sources to recognize threats. At the same time, it collects signal and target information, and reports on future operational planning. It also includes geolocation and direction finding capabilities, for example, from missile launches.. It is the part that is responsible for detecting all threats by tracking its components and electrical signals.

Electronic Protection, for its part, implies protect a country’s personnel, facilities, and equipment from the effects of an electronic attack by hostile forces that could neutralize or destroy its combat capabilities. This threat suppression is accomplished by utilizing various internal and external systems that employ cyber and radio frequency tools to detect, analyze, and initiate responses to known and potential threats.

Electronic attack, the third leg so to speak, is the strategic use of electromagnetic or directed energy weapons to assault the electronic infrastructure of enemy forces with the intent of degrading or eliminating their combat capabilities. This includes countermeasures such as signal jamming, electromagnetic deception (spoofing), lasers, radio frequency weapons or any combination of the above EW tools to achieve threat neutralization. Finally there is mission support, an area that ensures that the previous three have the resources they need to operate.

Thanks to EW technology and its ability to control the electromagnetic spectrum, it is not only possible to attack areas very precisely without fear of defensive attacks, but also it is possible to anticipate warlike actions of the enemy. It can even project directed energy to disrupt enemy operations. This changes the battlespace, offering the ability to bolster mission success and survivability at every stage, prevent some armed conflicts before they start, and/or reduce the impact and scope of ongoing conflicts.

Furthermore, when one party controls the electromagnetic spectrum in an area, their adversaries do not have that control, which denies them the use of precise navigation, positioning, communications, and other capabilities necessary to operate effectively. Currently, the major developers and users of EW systems include the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Russia, Israel, India, Japan, North Korea, France, Germany, and Sweden.

Rachel Maga
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life's biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.