JED - October 2011 - (Page 44)
EW Ideas and
In this month’s JED, we are starting an annual series that will focus on innovation in electronic warfare. Perhaps we’re just biased, but throughout history EW professionals often have proven themselves to be brilliant people. Most of the time, however, their achievements cannot be recognized right away due to security concerns – and rightly so. In other instances, companies do not like to broadcast their ideas because the EW industry is highly competitive at most levels. That leaves us with the difficult question of how to nurture innovation and share ideas to advance the art and science of EW. It is not easy. Instead of focusing on the vast amount of information that cannot be shared in an open forum, however, we have asked JED readers to think about the EW problems that keep them awake at night and to offer some solutions. Our hope to is open up a new environment in whic to n which highlight some of the large and small challen challenges of today’s EW discipline. We plan to run a new crop of EW innovation articles abou this time next year. es about So if you f feel inspired, please send us your idea. – J. Knowles The warfighter uses either a scope or augmented reality device to look into the distance. He can see the countermortar radar’s sidelobes steaming at him from the fire base he just left. On the ridgeline, he can see the faint glow of the enemy repeater. With a tweak of the settings, the user could dial in a decay and see “smoke signals” rising from the ambush waiting for him up ahead. In an urban environment, he can “see” multipath as a signal is shining off a skyscraper. He can trace the variations of intensity to the source much like someone could point out the source of stadium lights while standing on a downtown street corner. After a two-week course, an infantryman can understand the concept that the red he sees is the frequency for hand-held radios and that the blue are microwaves. How long of a course would be required to master a spectrum analyzer and an oscilloscope? What is worse, how long would it take the operator to put all the data together to make a timely decision? This is by no means an easy solution. A simple means of blanking out the EM sources from the team’s vehicles would be needed. Otherwise, the operator wouldn’t be able to see past the “glare” of his own antennas. This needs to be as simple as zeroing out a kitchen scale. A contractor spending weeks setting up the system is unsustainable. The propagation of RF behaves differently than the visual spectrum. Some creative software engineering would be needed to accurately visualize emitter radiation. This needs to be “accessible” and “natural.” Those two words I have never seen in the realm of electronic warfare.
The Journal of Electronic Defense | October 2011
VISUALIZING THE EMS
Daniel D. Meeks EW Consultant Battlespace Simulations, Inc. One of the greatest challenges to EW is having an operator understand what is really happening. As a former EWO instructor, my classes resembled a “Bill Nye, The Science Guy” episode, as I strained to teach young officers the beauty of oscillating electrostatic and magnetic fields. Why are EW concepts so hard to understand without the pain of a hard education? I believe the reason can be found in the simple fact that these things take place beyond our physical perception. Except for the odd accidental warmth that comes from passing in front of a radiating source, this wizardry of light we wield is unknown to the warfighter. Process radio waves into the visual spectrum. Bring this world of waves and pulses into something the warfighter can understand with his instincts and senses. Radio astronomy is doing this now. SIGINT solutions provide thermographic overlays to GIS products. Although these are performed in a postprocessing method, what is stopping us from doing this in real-time or near real-time? This isn’t a new concept. The USSR fielded helmet mounted passive detection systems that would translate emissions to sound. With the advent of miniaturized fractal arrays, I can see the solution looking like a fly’s compound eye, resolving spectra and interferometry in the RF range. This would be boresighted to a camera the operator would use for visual cues.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - October 2011
The View From Here
From the President
RF EW Program Forecast
EW Ideas and Innovation
Technology Survey: Portable and Flightline EW Testers
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - October 2011