Making Tactical EW More Lethal
by First Lieutenant Daniel N. Zeytoonian
The Army will begin fielding one of its two versions of the Ground-Based Common Sensor (GBCS) at the end of this year. Both variants of the system (Heavy and Light) offer the advantage of jamming and direction-finding (DF) from the same platform. Until this system replaces existing collectors and jammers, we can alter our employment of these present systems to optimize our combat power. By flexibly employing our AN/PRD-12s (Lightweight Man-Transportable Radio Direction-Finding System (LMRDFS)) with our AN/TLQ-17A(V)3 TRAFFIC- JAM system, we can add value to the intelligence picture in a way we cannot if we leave this system in the AN/TRQ-32A(V)2 TEAMMATE, as designed. This change, along with some common-sense revisions of the modified table of organization and equipment (MTOE) , would help to guarantee effective electronic warfare (EW) support to the commander before the Army's newest generation of EW systems arrives.
How We Increase EW Lethality
Currently, the PRD-12 gives the TRQ-32 a high-frequency DF capability which it does not have on its own. It also gives the system a redundant capability to DF signals in the very-high-frequency range. This subcomponent is removable for dismounted use and can also be used in conjunction with the TLQ-17 using its alternating current adapter. If MI battalions can procure additional PRD-12s, we can double our DF capability by fielding them inside of our jammers. With a DF capability on each of our EW systems, we could more easily and more precisely locate enemy emitters. Without the additional PRD-12s, we could still accomplish this end by moving the PRD-12 from the TRQ-32 to a TLQ-17 in the same platoon.
We have already tested transferring our PRD-12s from our TRQ-32s to our jammers. In the phases of the battle where we are not conducting electronic attack (EA) missions, we use the PRD-12 for scanning, intercepting, and DFing. We are extremely careful not to jam while the PRD-12 is active as this would ruin the receiver. In the event that a TRQ-32 goes down, we immediately return the PRD-12 back to that system to maintain the integrity of the baseline and to allow that TRQ-32 use of its partially redundant system as a backup.
This idea enables the direct support (DS) MI company to get two lines of bearing (LOBs)a cut without any augmentation. Augmented with an AN/TSQ-138 TRAILBLAZER, another TRQ-32, or TLQ-17 with a PRD-12, the company's collection and jamming (C&J) platoon could acquire three LOBs to a target a fix. This capability would increase the accuracy of the fixes provided to the analysis and control team (ACT) during independent brigade operations. For example, the brigade commander could deploy the C&J platoon by air as part of a follow-on force after an airfield seizure to expand the lodgment. That force could immediately, move into positions and conduct electronic support (ES) and EA operations.
The additional DF capability would also enable the MI battalion to obtain fixes of targets in restrictive terrain. Depending on environmental and terrain factors, adding a fourth and even fifth LOB to the target would further reduce the elliptical error, giving us a more accurate target position. This is extremely helpful since the accuracy of one of the LOBs could have fallen victim to an anomaly, such as water, power lines, ore, dense underbrush, or buildings between the collector and the emitter. These anomalies would affect the path of the signal wave and mislead the system as to the emitter's true location. The intelligence product that results from accurate signals intelligence lends more credibility to the discipline, and will ultimately increase its usefulness to commanders in their mission planning, targeting, and cross-cueing efforts.
Adding a DF capability to the TLQ-17s also helps in maintaining continuity during movement. Previously, when a TRQ-32 relocated to reacquire line of sight during a battle, we lost a critical DF capability. Now, during site displacement that capability is less critical since we have TLQ-17s that can DF with their PRD-12s while another DF platform is moving.
MTOE and Doctrinal Changes
To achieve optimal success in this transitional organization, we would need to make some MTOE and doctrinal changes. (Some of these changes we need to make anyway.) I will discuss four main areas: vehicles, personnel, security, and communications.
Vehicles. Currently, the collection and jamming platoon headquarters element is authorized one M998 high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV) on the MTOE. Giving the platoon leader and the platoon sergeant one vehicle to share makes little tactical sense. The platoon's command, control, and logistics element will be lost if that one vehicle is hit. Also, the platoon sergeant and leader occasionally have to be in different places at once. We try to design the logistical release point (LRP) so that it also doubles as a meeting of key leaders, but this may not always be possible. The platoon headquarters should have two M998 HMMWVs with drivers to effectively command, control, and resupply the assets in the platoon.
Personnel. To use the PRD-12 in conjunction with the TLQ-17, we would need to augment that jammer team with one soldier. Under this modification, one soldier would shift from the TRQ-32 team to the TLQ-17 team, leveling systems off at five soldiers apiece. The TRQ-32 currently uses six soldiers when it is running both operator positions during 24-hour operations. Usually, however, the analysis and control element (ACE) will tailor operating personnel based on the enemy's communications traffic patterns. During surge operations, the extra soldier on the TLQ-17 team could operate the PRD-12 while another soldier on his team scanned on the TLQ-17. During hours of light radio traffic, one TLQ-17 operator can operate both systems.
One problem this may present relates to transportation. Before I address the TLQ-17's problem transporting a five-person crew, let us take a look at the TRQ-32's current transportation problem. It is not clear how, on the TRQ-32 system, two 2-seater vehicles are expected to move the six MTOE-authorized personnel. Most units do not even address the problem since they do not have full crews. Some units have converted their chase vehicles into troop carriers. The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command says thisconversion is not allowed without a modified work order (MWO) approved by the Department of the Army (DA). If DA approved this MWO, we could submit a similar request to modify the M1037 chase vehicles in order to transport the proposed fifth member of the TLQ-17's crew.
Security. A rifle infantry squad could decimate an EW team. From this premise, we should evaluate tactical relationships that help ensure the EW teams' survivability on the battlefield. I believe that there are two options which help to protect them.
First, the DS MI company could arrange with its supported brigade that a section of that unit's maneuver force is responsible for providing security to each EW team. The team would integrate these additional assets into their movement, site reconnaissance, and site defense plans. This maneuver section with its additional firepower could help the team to break contact without sustaining losses in lives and critical systems, which may not be replaced in time of war.
The second option would give the maneuver battalions responsibility for supporting the teams by indirect fire only. The battalion's fire support officer would incorporate preplanned targets for the EW team to help it defend itself or break contact if attacked.
Communications. At this time, only the TRQ-32s are authorized manpack Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) radios. The Army fielded this radio to give the system a dismounted communications capability for use during low-level voice intercept missions. The teams also use the radio to communicate between the chase vehicle (which has no vehicle radios) and the system when the teams are separated. This happens during site reconnaissance and resupply, using the service station or the LRP methods. The TLQ-17 does not have this communications capability but should. I recommend adding the AN/PRC-119 manpack SINCGARS. Then, the TLQ-17 would have all of the benefits already mentioned plus an additional capability to net the PRD-12s with the rest of the baseline when we employ those systems together.
The equipment changes outlined in this article will increase the DS MI company's ability to wage EW while providing increased force protection to its EW teams. It would increase the usefulness of existing equipment by tactically tailoring it to the mission until newer equipment is fielded. Operations conducted at the NTC during May 1996 validated the practicality and effectiveness of these measures. We can and should optimize resources to provide the commander with the best intelligence picture we can give.
First Lieutenant Zeytoonian is currently S2, 1st Squadron, 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment. He has been an EW platoon leader and the Assistant J2 Operations Officer for JTF Dragoons and United States Forces, Haiti. He has a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University. Readers can contact him at (318) 531-4520, DSN 863-4520, and by E-mail at zeytoond @polk-emh2.army.mil.