JED - May 2010 - (Page 52)

Protecting Low-Cost and Non-Traditional Platforms The changing threat is pushing EW onto smaller platforms requiring cheaper, easy-to-integrate eaper, options. But is this the beginning of a paradigm shift for EW? By Barry Manz and Elaine Richardson and Iraq began to draw out, the operational scenario began to shift from conventional warfare toward irregular warfare. In irregular warfare, there is no “front line” and the enemy can attack any platform operating in the theater. Today, that adversary can access very capable commercial technology and exploit it for military purposes, such as using mobile phones to trigger IEDs. He can also buy inexpensive military hardware, such as Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), from a variety of sources. In Iraq and Afghanistan, this has led to a pattern of IED attacks against ground vehicles and numerous helicopter losses to small arms, RPGs and shoulder-launched IRguided missiles. These types of irregular warfare threats and tactics have driven military leaders to rethink their platform survivability strategies. In essence, more robust EW capabilities are needed on a much larger portion of the platform inventory, including utility helicopters, ground vehicles, light transport aircraft, small UAVs and even on soldiers. Many of these are low-cost platforms, and they require low-cost EW solutions (again keeping within 5-10 percent of the platform cost). New and emerging operational requirements are beginning to reflect this trend. EW research and development topics are also beginning to focus on maturing small, lightweight, low-cost EW technologies. Interestingly, some EW companies are already offering low-cost EW systems specifically aimed at this emerging market. E 52 The Journal of Electronic Defense | May 2010 lectronic warfare (EW) has always been a platformdriven market. Historically, militaries have bought EW systems for their high-value platforms that were most likely to face an adversary’s RF- and EO/ IR-guided threats. In a conventional warfare scenario, such as the Cold War, EW was primarily acquired for bombers, fighter aircraft, attack helicopters and surface combatants, because they represented the “tip of the spear”– those most likely to directly engage the enemy and become targets themselves. The military buyer allocated approximately 5-10 percent of the platform’s total cost to survivability equipment, including EW. That meant that a $40 million fighter aircraft, for example, would typically include $2-$4 million worth of EW and other survivability technologies. Throughout the Cold War and in the years that followed, military planners used this EW investment strategy to equip their forces for conventional operations. It defined the EW market and the industry that manufactured EW systems – creating a focus on sophisticated EW solutions for big-ticket weapons platforms. When the September 11 attacks occurred, that EW strategy (and the EW market) began to change. As military operations in Afghanistan

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - May 2010

JED - May 2010
The View From Here
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
European EW
The Future for Airborne Expendables
Protecting Low-Cost and Non-Traditional Platforms
Technology Survey: Missile Warning Systems
New Products
EW 101
Book Review
AOC News
JED Sales Offices
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - May 2010