JED - MARCH 2016 - (Page 32)

Detecting Next Ge COMINT/ELINT Worlds Merge to Hand R By John Haystead Radar technology has advanced dramatically over the past 20 years. New low probability of intercept (LPI) radar systems operating at much lower power levels and employing sophisticated direct-sequence, spread spectrum techniques, frequency agility, and advanced waveforms are already in operation in air defense systems around the globe, with more coming. In addition, multi-function radars, simultaneously operating in multiple modes or rapidly switching their emission parameters to serve multiple roles are now common. 32 The Journal of Electronic Defense | March 2016 A NEW APPROACH To deal with this new generation of radar threats, the capabilities of RF signal detection, identification, and classification (i.e., signals intelligence - SIGINT) systems must also be advanced. Historically, RF communications intelligence (COMINT) systems and the corollary non-communications electronic intelligence (ELINT) systems tasked with the radar detection mission have been largely distinct, covering different frequency bands and signal types, and employed by operators with different skills. That has changed. Today, the technologies, frequency ranges, and even some of the waveform characteristics utilized by advanced radars are often the same as those used by modern communication systems. The inevitable result is that new signal detection approaches and technologies, primarily developed to deal with rapidly evolving communication systems and networks, are also now applicable, in fact mandatory, for radar signal detection and identification systems including electronic support measures (ESM) systems and radar warning receivers (RWRs) as well. At least in terms of technology requirements, COMINT and ELINT are converging. Eric Vogel, SIGINT Program Director at BAE Systems (Nashua, NH) definitely sees this trend. "This is the direction things are going, and in some cases, where they already are. Our experience to date definitely includes hosting soft- ware-defined COMINT fined COMINT and ELINT functionality together with multiple types of applications on a common receiving and processing suite. This provides both reduced life-cycle costs, as well as in-mission flexibility. Using software, you can have a tuner and signal processing thread performing COMINT one minute, then by loading an application, it's now doing ELINT. Particu-

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - MARCH 2016

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
Detecting Next-Generation Emitters
Technology Survey: TWTs and MPMs
SIGINT History
EW 101
AOC News
2016 AOC Industry Member Guide
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - MARCH 2016