News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

K. Electronic Warfare/Directed Energy Weapons

1. Scope

Electronic warfare (EW) includes any military action involving the use of electromagnetic and directed energy to control the electromagnetic spectrum or attack an enemy. EW comprises three major subdivisions:

Electronic attack (EA)—Use of electromagnetic or directed energy to attack personnel, facilities, or equipment with the intent of degrading, neutralizing, or destroying enemy combat capability.

Electronic support (ES)—Actions taken by, or under direct control of, an operational commander to search for, intercept, identify, and locate sources of radiated electromagnetic energy for immediate threat recognition in support of EW operations and other tactical actions such as threat avoidance, homing, and targeting.

Electronic protection—actions taken to protect personnel, facilities, or equipment for any effects of friendly or enemy employment of electronic warfare that degrade, neutralize, or destroy friendly combat capability.

EW and directed warfare are leading technologies for solving Army problems in scenarios where nonlethal (i.e., no permanent injury) or less than lethal (i.e., could suffer serious injury) force is required.

Figure IV–8 illustrates directed energy weapons (DEW) and jamming applications on the battlefield. Figure IV–9 depicts the electronic power relationships between EW jammers and RF–DEWs.

Figure IV-8. Battlefield Applications of DEW and Jamming
Figure IV-8. Battlefield Applications of DEW and Jamming

Figure IV-9. Comparison of EW Jammer and RF-DEW Power Relationship
Figure IV-9. Comparison of EW Jammer and RF-DEW Power Relationship

2. Rationale

As the roles, missions, and capabilities of today’s Army evolve into the 21st century, so then does the role of EW. Dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum based on the ability to use and deny its use by others at will is dependent on industry, academia, the other services, and a robust program to sustain the Army’s unique requirements on the electronic battlefield. As threat systems become more complex, the need to develop EW systems that can respond to changing environments is critical to superior battlefield surveillance and survivability. Technology to collect, recognize, and process complex wave forms and provide effective jamming are essential. Knowledge–based systems using artificial intelligence and adaptive parallel distributed processing can provide "smart" software control to maintain an edge on a dense signal battlefield.

3. Technology Subareas

a. Electronic Attack

Goals and Timeframes

Develop the technologies that provide the capability to intercept and bring under EA advanced communications signals being used by adversarial C2 networks on the digital battlefield. Through EA strategies demonstrated with prototype hardware and software, these digital communications signals will be disrupted, denied, or modified to render the communications system ineffective and unreliable to the threat command and control function. Near–term goals are to demonstrate electronic attack against a set of digital formats being implemented in commercial communications systems and data transmission systems. Mid–term goals are to demonstrate the ability to disrupt other commercial communication networks and wide bandwidth communications. Long–term goals include the ability to surgically attack specific users within a nonobtrusive means while maintaining the overall integrity of the targeted communications network.

Development of sensor and countermeasure technologies is a complex chess game of trying to outplay your opponent, betting that your defensive systems can outmatch his offensive capabilities. Advanced technology and tactics are the last line of defense where a time span of 2 seconds or less can mean the difference between winning or losing. Technology goals include development of multifunctional/multispectral IR countermeasures, radar and laser warning, and countermeasures that can provide both self– and area–protection of air and ground platforms, as well as targeting and real–time situational awareness at the fighting station(s). Near–term goals include demonstration of a beam coupler for the DARPA laser/antitank infrared countermeasures (IRCM) point/tracker, the evaluation of IRCM techniques for top attack threats for ground vehicles, and the demonstration of an RF sensor and ECM modulator with the capability to locate, deceive, and jam monopulse and phased array radars from ultra high frequency (UHF) through millimeter wavebands. Mid–term goals include development of countermeasures for advanced EO/IR missiles using imaging seekers, and the continued development of advanced RF countermeasures with low–cost fingerprinting for signal sorting, jamming, targeting, and combat identification. Long–term goals include initiatives to develop integrated RF/IR/laser sensors and countermeasures against advanced EO/IR surface–to–air missiles and horizontal/top attack smart munitions.

Major Technical Challenges

The increasing use of common carrier commercial communications networks by potential adversaries presents the major technical challenge. We must be able to separate the threat–relevant communications from the purely commercial traffic and perform effective EW without disrupting the entire network. These targeted communication systems are characterized as adaptive sophisticated digital networks and modulation schemes that employ various layers of protocol and user protection.

Technology challenges also include development of uncooled, low false alarm rate detectors with <1 degree angle of attack (AOA) accuracy, development of multicolor IR focal plane array (FPA) (Navy/Air Force program), missile detection algorithms, and development of more efficient, low–cost, temperature stable IR/UV filters. The development of advanced high–speed wideband digital receivers using a GaAs microscan design approach, and the development of high power ultra–wideband digital RF memory (DRFM) jamming modulators and transmitter sources from A through M bands using MPM, MMIC, and fiber–optic remoting of sensors and transmitters. Precision AOA for situational awareness and targeting.

b. Electronic Support

Goals and Timeframes

As modern communication systems evolve, the overall goal is to develop the technology required to provide an electronic support/electronic attack ( ES/EA) capability to intercept and counter these new priority threats and to provide the battlefield commander with the tactical intelligence products that contribute to his ability to accomplish his mission. Near–term goals include the downsizing of existing bulky components to provide a rapidly deployable capability and the conversion from special–purpose processors and software to a general–purpose suite. The intent is also to provide the ability to specifically tailor and reprogram these systems quickly, locally or remotely, to meet the current and changing threat. Mid–term goals include development of signal processing techniques that provide effective ES against common carrier, multiple access commercial communications in order to identify, locate, and exploit threat users. Another goal is the development of the tools required to display increasingly complex data to the soldier operators in support of the IEW mission. The long–term goal includes the continued development of adaptive sensor technologies that can perform the ES mission as the use of increasingly more complex communication systems continues to evolve.

Major Technical Challenges

The increasing use of common carrier commercial communications networks by potential adversaries presents the major technical challenge. This implies the need for advanced front–end receiver architectures and signal processing techniques capable of providing ES mission functions against increasingly complex signal modulation methods and structures coupled to higher data rates and user protection schemes.

c. RF–Directed Energy Weapons

DEW includes laser, high power radio frequency (HPRF), and particle beam technologies. (HPRF technology is frequently called high power microwave (HPM) or RF directed energy.)

Electronic equipment can be defeated or impaired by irradiation from directed energy (DE) sources. Degradation can range from temporary "upsets" in electronics subsystems, permanent circuit deterioration, or permanent destruction due to burnout or electrical overload. As modern systems and their components become ever more reliant on sophisticated electronics, they also become more vulnerable to DE radiation. The Army’s DE program priority is to assess potential vulnerability of U.S. systems to unintentional irradiation "fratricide" by our DE–capable systems as well as intentional irradiation by enemy DE systems. DE hardening technology is being developed to mitigate both of these threats. In addition, the Army S&T program provides sources and components to support the susceptibility assessment program, support possible future applications, and avoid technological surprise from an adversary’s breakthrough.

Goals and Timeframes

Near–term goals for RF–DE weapons are (1) the development of new HPRF source concepts, such as the interference modulation HPM source concept and frequency agile, broadband klystrons for use in susceptibility testing and in field tests, and (2) RF–DE weapons hardening for MMIC circuits used in Army systems. A mid–term goal is the development of high–gain, broadband antennas. Long–term goals include development of silicon carbide hardening devices and use of chaos theory research results to achieve greater control of RF–DE weapon sources.

Major Technical Challenges

High power RF generators need to be smaller, lighter, and more fuel efficient. Projected targets require intensive susceptibility studies to determine the best attack methods. These technical challenges will be overcome by concentrating technology development efforts on improving modulators, RF sources, and antennas. Improvements to reduce size, weight, and power requirements must also be accomplished by enhancements to radiation beam control.

d. Lasers

Compact, high efficiency lasers are critical for electro–optical countermeasures (EOCM), IRCM, and DEW applications. The maturation of diode pumped lasers, nonlinear frequency conversion techniques, and advanced laser design have made it feasible to incorporate these devices into tactical vehicles and aircraft for self–protection and missile defense. The challenge is to demonstrate the required power levels in a compact package for Army applications and to scale the power to higher levels for future needs.

Goals and Timeframes

In FY96, a DARPA/tri–service program demonstrated compact solid–state mid–IR lasers that would meet Army ATD requirements. That program increased available power by an order of magnitude. As a result, optically and electronically pumped solid–state lasers for IRCM applications that will transition to EMD by FY00 should have significantly lower cost, size, and power consumption. These lasers are being developed under a management agreement between DARPA and the services. Other recent accomplishments include the 1996 demonstration of technology for an active tracker system used in IRCM/EOCM applications to provide precision pointing and atmospheric compensation, the FY97 breadboard demonstration of a DARPA/Army 10 joule/100 hertz (Hz) diode pumped laser (DAPKL) and the development of a wide pulse IRCM laser with Lincoln Laboratories.

Major Technical Challenges

The major challenge to scaling the mid–infrared lasers is the development of an optical parametric oscillator (OPO) that can handle the higher average powers without damage. Other issues include packaging lasers for use on aircraft and cost reduction of laser diode arrays. A longer term challenge will be the scaling of compact solid–state lasers to higher powers for standoff directed energy applications.

Specific challenges include:

Increasing the power/weight ratio by threefold for sensor countermeasure systems.
Scaling the power output of solid–state lasers by 10X to 20X in a compact package.
Developing direct diode laser sources with wavelengths from blue/UV to mid IR.
Reducing the cost of laser diode arrays to less than $1/peak watt.

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for Electronic Warfare/Directed Energy Weapons is shown in Table IV–22.

5. Linkages to Future Operational Capabilities

The influence of this technology area on TRADOC FOCs is summarized in Table IV–23.

Table IV–22.  Technical Objectives for Electronic Warfare/Directed Energy Weapons

Technology Subarea

Near Term FY98–99

Mid Term FY00–04

Far Term FY05–13

Electronic Attack (Signal Processing) 33% reduction in processing time: power efficiency increase 33%, size reduction 25% Increase number of signals tracked by 200% 50% increase in processing speed and computations per second
Electronic Support (Receivers) Improved dynamic range 20% Size reduction 50% 8:1 reduction in size and power
Electronic Attack (Antennas) Improved broadband HF/VHF passive antenna efficiency by 10%

E–J band precision AOA, polarization insensitive

Improved efficiency u30%, size reduction 90%

A–K band

High gain, high power ground band antennas

40% improvement in HTSC material operating conditions

Integrated A–M band, laser warning, EO/IR FPA

Electronic Attack (Radar Jamming Techniques and Modulators) Jam monopulse and phased array, DRFM 200 MHz BW Phase O array and spared spectrum radars DRFM 3–GHz bandwidth Impulse and bistatic radars DRFM 10–GHz bandwidth
Electronic Attack (Fuze/Smart Munition Jamming) Precision DRFM, 50 picosec in 10–Hz steps Precision DRFM, 5 picosec on 1–Hz steps Precision DRFM, 1 picosec in sub Hz, 10–GHz bandwidth
Electronic Attack (Fiber Optic Cable for IRCM/Laser Warning) Mid IR t1 db/m Mid IR, visible t1 db/m Mid–long IR, visible t0.5 db/m
Electronic Attack (IR Missile Jamming) Mid IR CONSCAN Mid IR, visible FPA CM Mid–long IR, visible FPA CM
Electronic Attack (Passive Horizontal/Top Attack Detection) Horizontal ATGM Top attack smart munition Low–observable horizontal and top attack munitions
RF–Directed Energy Weapons High power interference modulation source concept

Multibeam klystron

RF–DEW modulator

Silicon carbide hardening devices

High average power traveling wave tubes (TWTs)

Advanced RF–DEW pulsers

Techniques for hardening against upset

High power wideband amplifiers

Advanced conventional source systems

Alternate source weapon systems

Lasers Mid IR laser source t50 lb

Package DAPKL

Mid IR laser with 10X power

Compact 10X power solid–state laser

Lightweight all–band mid IR diode lasers

Compact 100X power solid–state laser


Table IV–23.  Electronic Warfare/Directed Energy Weapons Linkages to Future Operational Capabilities

Technology Subarea

Integrated and Branch/Functional Unique Future Operational Capabilities

Electronic Attack (Signal Processing) TR 97–019 Command and Control Warfare
Electronic Support (Receivers) TR 97–02 Situational Awareness
TR 97–029 Sustainment
TR 97–044 Survivability—Personnel
Electronic Attack (Antennas) TR 97–019 Command and Control Warfare
Electronic Attack (Radar Jamming Techniques and Modulators) TR 97–019 Command and Control Warfare
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
Electronic Attack (Fuze/Smart Munition Jamming) TR 97–019 Command and Control Warfare
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
Electronic Attack (Fiber Optic Cable for IRCM/Laser Warning) TR 97–019 Command and Control Warfare
TR 97–021 Real–Time Target Acquisition, Identification, and Dissemination
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
Electronic Attack (IR Missile Jamming) TR 97–019 Command and Control Warfare
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
Electronic Attack (Passive Horizontal/Top Attack Detection) TR 97–021 Real–Time Target Acquisition, Identification, and Dissemination
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
RF Directed Energy Weapons TR 97–005 Airspace Management
TR 97–007 Battlefield Information Passage
TR 97–010 Tactical Communications
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
Lasers TR 97–035 Power Source and Accessories
TR 97–036 Nonprimary Power Sources Combat Vehicles/Support Systems
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel

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