What is electronic warfare?  - Magoda - Production America

What is electronic warfare? – Magoda – Production America

Electronic warfare (EW) includes many defensive and offensive actions that make use of the electromagnetic spectrum. Numerous aspects of modern warfare rely on this collection of frequencies to function, including radar, radio, infrared vision, direct energy, and more.

The weapons and equipment that target these and other electronic assets are all relevant to this war area. Deploying electrical strikes on an enemy is only part of electrical warfare; the development and implementation of protective measures are equally vital, as are intelligence gathering and surveillance.

Although sometimes confused with cyber warfare or digital warfare, EW has been in use since the early 20th century, starting with the jamming of radio communications during the Russo-Japanese War.

It was used extensively by both the Axis and allied powers during World War II and continued to become a deciding factor as battlefield communications, radar technology, and electronic surveillance and intelligence gathering advanced from the mid to end of 1900.

It remains a key priority for the US military, its allies and other major global powers.

Electronic warfare systems and strategies

EW’s capabilities fall into one of three main categories. They are referred to as electronic attack (EA), electronic protection (EP) and electronic medium (ES). The EA subdivision focuses on the use of equipment such as infrared lasers, anti-radiation systems, electronic warplanes, and other assets that aim to interrupt, disable and destroy enemy capabilities.

EA has also been classified as electronic countermeasures (ECM). Conventional EA strategies are usually focused on enemy radar and sonar, but these capabilities have sophisticatedly increased with modern electronic warfare technology. On the contrary, EP focuses on fighting and protecting from such efforts.

EP’s goal is to neutralize the enemy-deployed EA, which often involves strategic resistance to radar disturbance and other types of electromagnetic frequency disruption. Some specific EP techniques include frequency hopping, radiation homing, and filtering of unwanted signals through polarization.

For EA’s offensive aspects and EP’s defensive aspects to remain effective, ES must be a top priority. This subdivision is devoted to strategic detection, interception and localization of electromagnetic activity, which allows for the recognition of electronic warfare targets on the side of the enemy, as well as the potential for incoming threats and local vulnerabilities.

ES will often use Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) resources to analyze and identify intercepted transmissions. Electronic warfare attack, protection and support efforts are implemented across a wide range of technologies, including those based on surface, ground, airborne and cybernetic equipment.

Electronic warfare proves decisive

Radar jamming, blip enhancement, and wrist chirp may sound like the jargon of a Cold War movie or spy novel, but they are all relevant to the electronic warfare arsenals of the digital age. With the raging war between Russia and Ukraine, EW’s capabilities are back on the front page and are proving decisive.

In February, SpaceX sent Starlink terminals to keep Ukraine online as Russian forces marched through city centers and captured critical infrastructure. Despite Russia’s attempts at hacking and disrupting terminals, the European Parliament’s rapidly deployed countermeasures restored Ukraine’s communication and connectivity capabilities within hours.

In early May, the Department of Defense announced it would ship electronic jamming equipment to Eastern Europe as part of a $ 150 million security package. The security assistance package is part of an ongoing effort to support critical communications and defense technology that can make or break military operations.

This happens after the deployment of six Growler EA-18Gs. These electronic attack aircraft can be equipped with electronic jamming pods that counter enemy air defense radar by blocking and interrupting essential radio pulses. These are not likely to be the only EW features that will be put to the test in the coming months. Their performance could drive upcoming defense technology developments around the world.

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