JED - June 2014 - 32

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and the speed at which that data can
be processed. Accordingly, airborne SIGINT capabilities are no longer tied to
large airframes with large numbers of
operators, but can be installed in relatively small aircraft and increasingly,
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). While
SIGINT UAVs can trace their history back
to the mid-1960s, today's technology is
at least pointing the way towards large
scale use of such air vehicles which, in
the latest generations, can provide unprecedented levels of persistence.
Alongside the way in which a fairly
consistent family of solutions is being
implemented, users can now acquire
SIGINT data from a much wider spread
of applications than was previously the
case. Back in 1964, what we now know
as electronic support (ES) systems and
radio-frequency threat warners for
tactical aircraft were in their infancy,
whereas today, both are virtually universal, with threat warners being able
to record what they have detected and
ES systems offering both tactical and
(very often) strategic collection capabilities. This universality has spread
beyond the equipment itself and is embedded in today's generation of intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance
(ISR) platforms that increasingly offer
(and fuse) different types of sensors in a
single application. While technological
advances have allowed this to become
a reality, today's economic climate, together with a global hunger to know,
has led manufacturers to create affordable ISR systems that can acquire data
via multiple sensors in packages that are
multi-functional and maximize capability within cost and platform constraints.
To conclude, it would be interesting to
know what the next 50 years will bring.
This author can offer no real prognostications other than to say that in an
increasingly unstable world, knowledge
truly is power. In the immediate future,
airborne SIGINT will continue to have
its place at the intelligence table, with
manned systems continuing to offer levels of flexibility and responsiveness that
cannot be matched by robotic and "overhead" systems. Equally (and if the past
50 years are anything to go by), airborne
SIGINT will continue to reinvent itself
and adapt to the needs of the day. a


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JED - June 2014

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

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
50 Years of Airborne SIGINT
ACE Program Lays Out Plans for New EW Capabilities
Technology Survey: Spectrum Analyzers
EW 101
NAWCWD Hosts 43rd Annual Collaborative Electronic Warfare Symposium
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - June 2014 - cover1
JED - June 2014 - cover2
JED - June 2014 - 3
JED - June 2014 - 4
JED - June 2014 - 5
JED - June 2014 - The View From Here
JED - June 2014 - 7
JED - June 2014 - Conferences Calendar
JED - June 2014 - 9
JED - June 2014 - Courses Calendar
JED - June 2014 - 11
JED - June 2014 - From the President
JED - June 2014 - 13
JED - June 2014 - 14
JED - June 2014 - The Monitor
JED - June 2014 - 16
JED - June 2014 - 17
JED - June 2014 - 18
JED - June 2014 - 19
JED - June 2014 - World Report
JED - June 2014 - 21
JED - June 2014 - 50 Years of Airborne SIGINT
JED - June 2014 - 23
JED - June 2014 - 24
JED - June 2014 - 25
JED - June 2014 - 26
JED - June 2014 - 27
JED - June 2014 - 28
JED - June 2014 - 29
JED - June 2014 - 30
JED - June 2014 - 31
JED - June 2014 - 32
JED - June 2014 - ACE Program Lays Out Plans for New EW Capabilities
JED - June 2014 - 34
JED - June 2014 - 35
JED - June 2014 - 36
JED - June 2014 - Technology Survey: Spectrum Analyzers
JED - June 2014 - 38
JED - June 2014 - 39
JED - June 2014 - 40
JED - June 2014 - 41
JED - June 2014 - 42
JED - June 2014 - 43
JED - June 2014 - 44
JED - June 2014 - 45
JED - June 2014 - 46
JED - June 2014 - 47
JED - June 2014 - 48
JED - June 2014 - EW 101
JED - June 2014 - 50
JED - June 2014 - 51
JED - June 2014 - 52
JED - June 2014 - NAWCWD Hosts 43rd Annual Collaborative Electronic Warfare Symposium
JED - June 2014 - AOC News
JED - June 2014 - 55
JED - June 2014 - 56
JED - June 2014 - Index of Advertisers
JED - June 2014 - JED Quick Look
JED - June 2014 - cover3
JED - June 2014 - cover4
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