JED - May 2014 - 44

The Journal of Electronic Defense | May 2014
By Tom Withington and John Haystead
E
44
nergetic
efforts are ongoing
in Europe, the US, South
Africa and Israel
regarding
the development of communications
intelligence (COMINT)
systems for ground forces.
Several companies are expanding their
offerings to include manpack solutions
to place COMINT in the hands of individual
soldiers at the tactical level. As this
article will illustrate, some firms are taking
the approach of designing a baseline
COMINT architecture, which can then be
used as the foundation for a number of
distinct COMINT products. Others
are
focusing on the need to provide networked
tactical COMINT, along with systems
which are easy for the soldier to
use. Despite moving COMINT down to the
tactical level, suppliers in these regions
are not ignoring operational and strategic-level
COMINT, with several products
having recently entered the marketplace
to this effect, and procurement of such
equipment ongoing to this end.
UNITED KINGDOM
QinetiQ (Farnborough, Hampshire,
UK) has partnered with L3 TRL Technology
(Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, UK),
another British firm, to develop the Modular
Electronic Warfare System (MEWS)
family of COMINT products, which can
monitor and perform Direction Finding
(DF) in the 2 MHz to 3 GHz segment of
the electromagnetic spectrum.
Although DF can be performed using
one MEWS, by connecting two systems
together
via
an internet
connection,
which uses relatively low bandwidth
across tactical radios, it is possible to obtain
a precise position of an emitter of
interest. MEWS is available in three configurations,
including the man-portable,
battery-powered MEWS-M, which can be
used at the tactical
level. The MEWS-V
is designed for vehicular operations and
can thus support larger formations, while
the sheltered MEWS-S is designed for operational-level
COMINT over large areas.
Signals
by the MEWS is displayed to the operator
using intuitive Windows-based software.
Andrew Beck, Electronic Warfare Capability
Lead at QinetiQ, says "the firm
provides the MEWS software and signal
processing algorithms with L3 TRL designing
and manufacturing the MEWS
hardware." He says that "supplies of the
MEWS commenced to customers in late
2012." Beck adds that the company's intention
during the development of MEWS
was to design a baseline architecture,
which could be scaled to fulfill multiple
scenarios including man-portable, vehicular
and fixed COMINT roles: "Our strategy
has been to invest once in developing
a key set of components as the building
blocks for an array of different products."
Although the firm has examined
how to provide COMINT on-the-march
rather than at-the-halt, as is provided
with the existing MEWS-M, Beck argues
that there are still important technical
challenges to be overcome before such
systems are fully realized: "There's still
the fundamental issue of how to address
DF antenna issues on-the-march (performance
and visual signature) along with
the overarching challenge of further
reducing the size, weight and power to
truly acceptable levels."
In terms of performance, Beck adds
intelligence (SIGINT) obtained
that one of the major attractions of the
MEWS is that the system can automatically
DF all signals in band in real time,
as opposed to "having to find a signal,
listen to that signal and then perform
the DF on a per-signal basis." This allows
the MEWS to be operated in such a way
as to only examine a defined swathe of
space around the system: "If you're in a
situation where you know the azimuth
of the threat, you can filter that azimuth
for investigation."
Roke Manor Research (Romsey, Hampshire),
a unit of Chemring Technology
Solutions, has introduced a man-pack
version of its "Resolve" family of EW
systems. The 10-kg manpack system provides
intercept and DF on-the-move. Using
its QuadTac Mini antenna, the system
covers 30-750 MHz. The backpack unit
features a switchable antenna to accommodate
soldiers who aim their rifles from
either the left or right-hand positions.
Also in the UK, CommsAudit (Cheltenham,
Gloucestershire, UK), provides the
"SPECTRA" multirole radio monitoring
system. Designed for fixed-site installation,
as well as for mobile use, SPECTRA
provides surveillance across the 2
MHz to 3 GHz range, although customers
have the option of extending this downwards
to 30 kHz and upwards to 7.5 GHz.
Similarly, an upgrade is available from
the company to configure the product to
perform wideband COMINT via the addition
of wideband receivers.
FRANCE AND GERMANY
The TRC-6030 ground COMINT system
from Thales (Paris, France) covers the

JED - May 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - May 2014

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
Interview
European Helicopter EW
Advanced ASE And ESM Already On Some US Helicopters
Ground-Based COMINT Solutions
Fighting the Kill Chain: Concepts and Methods of Electronic Attack
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - May 2014 - cover1
JED - May 2014 - cover2
JED - May 2014 - 3
JED - May 2014 - 4
JED - May 2014 - 5
JED - May 2014 - The View From Here
JED - May 2014 - 7
JED - May 2014 - Conferences Calendar
JED - May 2014 - 9
JED - May 2014 - Courses Calendar
JED - May 2014 - 11
JED - May 2014 - From the President
JED - May 2014 - 13
JED - May 2014 - 14
JED - May 2014 - The Monitor
JED - May 2014 - 16
JED - May 2014 - 17
JED - May 2014 - 18
JED - May 2014 - 19
JED - May 2014 - 20
JED - May 2014 - 21
JED - May 2014 - Washington Report
JED - May 2014 - 23
JED - May 2014 - World Report
JED - May 2014 - Interview
JED - May 2014 - 26
JED - May 2014 - 27
JED - May 2014 - European Helicopter EW
JED - May 2014 - 29
JED - May 2014 - 30
JED - May 2014 - 31
JED - May 2014 - 32
JED - May 2014 - 33
JED - May 2014 - 34
JED - May 2014 - 35
JED - May 2014 - 36
JED - May 2014 - 37
JED - May 2014 - 38
JED - May 2014 - Advanced ASE And ESM Already On Some US Helicopters
JED - May 2014 - 40
JED - May 2014 - 41
JED - May 2014 - 42
JED - May 2014 - 43
JED - May 2014 - Ground-Based COMINT Solutions
JED - May 2014 - 45
JED - May 2014 - 46
JED - May 2014 - 47
JED - May 2014 - 48
JED - May 2014 - 49
JED - May 2014 - Fighting the Kill Chain: Concepts and Methods of Electronic Attack
JED - May 2014 - 51
JED - May 2014 - 52
JED - May 2014 - 53
JED - May 2014 - 54
JED - May 2014 - 55
JED - May 2014 - 56
JED - May 2014 - 57
JED - May 2014 - 58
JED - May 2014 - 59
JED - May 2014 - EW 101
JED - May 2014 - 61
JED - May 2014 - AOC News
JED - May 2014 - 63
JED - May 2014 - 64
JED - May 2014 - Index of Advertisers
JED - May 2014 - JED Quick Look
JED - May 2014 - cover3
JED - May 2014 - cover4
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