JED - February 2015 - (Page 26)

Maritime SIGINT: Shipborne Ears for S By Richard Scott The Journal of Electronic Defense | February 2015 26 Shipboard tactical communications electronic support measures (CESM) systems provide a means to collect information on known or potential threats through the interception, geolocation, monitoring and analysis of signals of interest (SOI), and are thus a key component of a maritime signals intelligence (SIGINT) capability. In contrast to strategic SIGINT, the objective of which is to build up a broad picture of forces, structures and activities over time, tactical SIGINT product affords theater commanders with vital "indications and warning" - in essence the ability to eavesdrop on communications frequencies that can provide critical real-time situational awareness or near-real-time operational intelligence on the disposition and intent of adversaries. The business of maritime "cryptologic exploitation" has witnessed a transformation on several fronts over the past two decades. For example, the move into the littorals has been accompanied by a new focus against rogue states, irregular combatants, terror groups, organized crime syndicates, traffickers and pirates. At the same time, the accelerating pace of commercial telecommunications technology, driven by an explosion in cellular subscriber networks, together with the emergence of new and increasingly complex waveforms in the military and paramilitary sectors, presents significant technical challenges. This has, in turn, driven a revolution in the design and engineering of maritime CESM systems towards open architectures that facilitate incremental technology refreshment to keep pace with emergent threats through the exploitation of rapidly-evolving COTS technology (receivers, demodulators, tun- ers, controllers, recorders, software and interfaces). Finally, there is an emergent cyber dimension to consider. Naturally, details of cyber/information warfare capabilities remain highly classified, but the role of SIGINT in finding cyber targets can only increase in the years to come. The approach taken by the US Navy is very much a reflection of this culture and technology shift. Back in April 1997, the service formed a Maritime SIGINT Architecture (MSA) Study Group to establish the feasibility of developing a common technical architecture that would serve the needs of tactical cryptologic systems for the maritime services. The MSA subsequently developed a set of technical standards for interoperability and commonality among maritime systems, an approach enshrined in the Service's Maritime Cryptologic Systems for the 21st Century (MCS 21) program. MCS 21 is an umbrella under which the USN has introduced a common, scalable software baseline applicable to submarine and airborne systems as well as surface ship suites. In the latter case, the Service has embraced the phased evolution of the Ship's Signal Exploitation Equipment (SSEE) - embracing the Increment E, Increment F and modifications programs - as a successor capability to succeed the legacy SSQ-124(V) Cooperative OUTBOARD Logistics Upgrade (COBLU), AN/SRS-1 Combat DF and AN/ULQ-20 Battle Group Passive Horizon Extension System (BGPHES) suites. The US Navy's shipboard information warfare and exploitation program is managed through the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Battlespace Awareness and Information Operations Program Office (PMW 120) under PEO C4I. Argon ST, acquired by Boeing in 2010 and now operating as a wholly-owned

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - February 2015

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Maritime SIGINT: Shipborne Ears for the “Five Eyes”
Technology Survey: Analog-to-Digital Converters
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - February 2015