JED - November 2017 - 39

TECHNOLOGY SURVEY
A SAMPLING OF ELINT RECEIVERS
By Ollie Holt

in one full look or as multiple looks, (i.e., looking at a
smaller segment of the total frequency coverage in discrete steps). For a receiver that only looks at a small segment at a time, the receiver will take longer to detect a
signal than a receiver that is able to examine the total
frequency range in a single look. This is not really important for an ELINT receiver, however, because its function
is typically to detect and collect, or be cued to a specific
frequency and collect.
The receiver's instantaneous bandwidth (IBW) defines
the total frequency range that can be examined in a single look. It can be listed in different ways, and an ELINT
receiver can have multiple IBW's. A channelized receiver
could list the input IBW as 500 MHz, in which the software/firmware can channelize the data such that within
the 500 MHz multiple smaller IBW channels can be created. The responses contain all the different IBW's that
the listed ELINT receiver can be programmed to use.
The installed sensitivity column lists the sensitivity
that the ELINT receiver achieves at the different IBW's.
Because sensitivity is a function of the IBW, the receivers with wider IBWs will be less sensitive than those
with narrower IBWs. That is one advantage of channelized receivers. They provide a wide IBW input that can
be reduced to many smaller IBW receivers so the installed
sensitivity is based on the narrower IBW. This means the
receiver can look over a large frequency range at one
time while achieving the sensitivity derived by the
smaller IBW channels.
The receiver's total dynamic range defines the lowest input level to highest input level the receiver can
process without creating spurious information. It basically defines the linear operating range of the receiver.
Signals with levels below the lowest input level will not
be detected, while signals above the highest input level
will be detected but will start to create additional spurious data.
The next column shows the receiver's instantaneous
dynamic range. This can be the same as total dynamic
range or it may be different. Some ELINT receivers may
have amplifiers in the front-end receiver components
prior to the signal detection processing. These amplifiers
may have multiple selectable gain levels. The instantaneous dynamic range is defined at a single gain state,
while the total dynamic range is from lowest possible
signal state to the highest possible gain state.
Our December JED technology survey will cover SIGINT tuner modules.

The Journal of Electronic Defense | November 2017

O

ver the past several months, we have
looked at electronic support measures
(ESM) systems and radar warning receivers (RWRs), as well as and communications
intelligence (COMINT) receivers and communications direction finding (DF) systems. This month, we complete the circle by looking at
ELINT receivers.
ELINT receivers are used in real time to monitor and
display artifacts of the observed radar signal and to
collect data on these radar signals for further detailed
analysis on the ground. The collected data is analyzed
to determine the performance of the radar and its different modes of operation. The results of the analysis
are then reported in observation reports which are then
used by EW experts to aid in creating methods for detection, identification and jamming of these signal.
This data may be coded into a User Data File (UDF) or
Mission Data File (MDF) for use by RWR, ESM and jamming systems in the signal identification and lethality
determination process.
In some ELINT receiver configurations, the operators
can observe the signals in real time and study the signals' artifacts in the frequency or time domain. All of
this data may be recorded and saved for future analysis.
An ELINT receiver usually covers a wider total frequency range than a typical ESM system or RWR. The
ELINT receiver typically scans the RF environment and
looks for interesting radar signals. It can be directed to
stop scanning and "stare" to collect data on specific signals. ELINT receivers usually have a "copy" mode that
is used to collect data for a period of time. The ELINT
receiver can rely on a real-time operator (i.e., a human)
who can aid in the selection and analysis of the signals
observed in the environment. The operator can be cued
to a certain signal by other external information or he
can chose to observe signals he has detected in the RF
environment. The ELINT receiver does not have the same
real-time identification and intent determination requirement of an RWR, ESM system or jammer receiver, so
it can dwell on a signal for a longer period of time, and it
can collect a larger quantity of information on a signal
for operator or post-mission analysis.
In the survey table that follows, the first parameter listed is the receiver technology (analog, digital or
other). The next column lists the operational frequency
range, which is the total frequency coverage of the ELINT
system from lowest frequency to highest. This could be

39



JED - November 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - November 2017

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Forecast: Future of DIRCM
Sensor Fusion for 4th Gen Fighters
Technology Survey: ELINT Receivers
54th Annual AOC International Symposium and Convention Guide
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - November 2017 - intro
JED - November 2017 - cover1
JED - November 2017 - cover2
JED - November 2017 - 3
JED - November 2017 - 4
JED - November 2017 - 5
JED - November 2017 - The View From Here
JED - November 2017 - 7
JED - November 2017 - Conferences Calendar
JED - November 2017 - 9
JED - November 2017 - Courses Calendar
JED - November 2017 - 11
JED - November 2017 - From the President
JED - November 2017 - 13
JED - November 2017 - 14
JED - November 2017 - insert1
JED - November 2017 - insert2
JED - November 2017 - The Monitor
JED - November 2017 - 16
JED - November 2017 - 17
JED - November 2017 - 18
JED - November 2017 - 19
JED - November 2017 - 20
JED - November 2017 - 21
JED - November 2017 - 22
JED - November 2017 - 23
JED - November 2017 - World Report
JED - November 2017 - 25
JED - November 2017 - Forecast: Future of DIRCM
JED - November 2017 - 27
JED - November 2017 - 28
JED - November 2017 - 29
JED - November 2017 - 30
JED - November 2017 - 31
JED - November 2017 - 32
JED - November 2017 - 33
JED - November 2017 - 34
JED - November 2017 - Sensor Fusion for 4th Gen Fighters
JED - November 2017 - 36
JED - November 2017 - 37
JED - November 2017 - 38
JED - November 2017 - Technology Survey: ELINT Receivers
JED - November 2017 - 40
JED - November 2017 - 41
JED - November 2017 - 42
JED - November 2017 - 43
JED - November 2017 - 44
JED - November 2017 - 45
JED - November 2017 - 46
JED - November 2017 - 47
JED - November 2017 - 48
JED - November 2017 - 54th Annual AOC International Symposium and Convention Guide
JED - November 2017 - 50
JED - November 2017 - 51
JED - November 2017 - 52
JED - November 2017 - 53
JED - November 2017 - 54
JED - November 2017 - 55
JED - November 2017 - 56
JED - November 2017 - 57
JED - November 2017 - 58
JED - November 2017 - 59
JED - November 2017 - 60
JED - November 2017 - 61
JED - November 2017 - 62
JED - November 2017 - 63
JED - November 2017 - 64
JED - November 2017 - 65
JED - November 2017 - EW 101
JED - November 2017 - 67
JED - November 2017 - 68
JED - November 2017 - AOC News
JED - November 2017 - 70
JED - November 2017 - 71
JED - November 2017 - 72
JED - November 2017 - Index of Advertisers
JED - November 2017 - JED Quick Look
JED - November 2017 - cover3
JED - November 2017 - cover4
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