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Warrior Video Above: New Technology Brings New Electronic Warfare Attacks

By Kris Osborn - Warrior Maven

(Washington, D.C.) Surrounded by enemy fire, trapped in a valley between mountains and unable to use certain sensors, drones, fire-control and radar applications, a forward-positioned Army infantry unit suddenly finds itself with no radio, sensors, electronics... or GPS. Their communications are jammed, disabled and rendered useless, making them isolated and vulnerable to lethal air and ground attacks. Does this outnumbered infantry unit have any options with which to avoid destruction? How can they get air support or armored vehicle reinforcement?

This very realistic possible threat scenario, increasingly becoming more ominous with modern technical advances, is precisely why the Army is moving quickly to modernize its arsenal of electronic weapons -- and further integrate them with cyber systems. With an increasingly crowded and complex electromagnetic spectrum, contemporary electronic warfare threats are naturally extremely serious, as they can operate on a greater number of frequencies, attack with greater range and strength and fire from less detectable locations.

"The combining of EW and cyber at the tactical edge is critical to allowing Soldiers to compete in Multi-Domain Operations. Spectrum awareness and the ability to deliver EW and cyber effects will give tactical Commanders more diverse effects. We are fusing EW, spectrum and cyber together into a multi-domain toolkit for situational awareness and to make faster decisions on one common operating picture,” Maj. Gen. Peter A. Gallagher, Network Cross-Functional Team director, Army Futures Command, told Warrior in a written statement.

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One of the Army’s programs now being advanced through a deal with Raytheon, is working to rapidly improve EW weapons by drawing upon increased AI and machine learning. The Raytheon effort, developed to align with Army requirements, uses analytics and advanced automation to organize, detect, emit and thwart a complex array of electronic signatures. The program, called Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool (EWPMT), seeks to address and advance the Army’s interest in AI-driven EW and spectrum management.

The technical improvements to the EW system are being delivered in specific upgraded software increments, Raytheon developers said. “EWPMT allows soldiers to plan and synchronize electronic warfare. It enables the spectrum manager to do what they do by looking at real-time spectrum interference based on sensor data,” Niraj Srivastava, prodsuct line manager for multi-domain battle management, Raytheon SAS, told reporters.

EW attacks used to effect by Russian military in Ukraine did not go unnoticed by the U.S. Army. During their invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces used EW in conjunction with both drones and communications systems. Therefore, the service is making a specific push to modernize EW software and hardware management -- all while rapidly applying AI to reduce cognitive overload on soldiers.

“The Army's S&T (science and technology) community is currently exploring how AI and machine learning capabilities may autonomously de-conflict spectrum usage and enable Commanders to more effectively utilize spectrum in constrained environments," Gallagher told Warrior.

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Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army - Acquisition, Logistics& Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.****--- Kris Osborn ofWARRIOR MAVEN (CLICK HERE) can be reached at**