India emerging as successful group of electronic warfare

professionals: AOC

Bengaluru,Feb 14 The International President of U.S. based Association of Old Crows (AOC), Lisa K Fruge, today said India was emerging as one of the most successful and active groups of electronic warfare professionals in the world due to advancement of technology in defence systems.

She was delivering the keynote address at the inaugural of the three-day fifth International Conference on Electronic Warfare-2018 here.

More than 400 delegates across the country, besides defence officers and technocrats from various organisations engaged in the design, development and production of armaments for the country are attending the conference.

Fruge said this mutually vibrant set-up of technologists envisages faster connectivity for communication,collaborating, membership driving and mentoring among the professionals to help their country grow.

A press release by AOC’s Indian chapter quoted her as saying “As no single platform can be used by the different branches of armed forces of a country, it is the need of the hour to innovate in this field because the future warfare would be only a electronic warfare, the technology of which is growing very fast.”

She called for the right involvement of young professionals in the field to infuse fresh blood, leading to new applications.

Bharat Electronics Limited Chairman and Managing Director M V Gouthama said that the EW system, which started as a force multiplier, has become the most essential feature in modern warfare of all the nations in the world.

This dynamic field has tremendous scope of innovation and continuous research process in tune with galloping technology, he added.

The Association of Old Crows is an organisation for individuals who have common interests in Electronic Warfare (EW), Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Operations (EMSO), Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA), Information Operations (IO) and other information related capabilities.


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Revealed: The Army and Air Force Are Working on New War Plans for the Future

The Army and the Air Force are launching a new, collaborative war-gaming operation to assess future combat scenarios and, ultimately, co-author a new inter-service cross-domain combat doctrine.

The concept of cross-domain fires, something inspiring fast-growing attention at the Pentagon, is grounded in the premise that future war challenges will require air, land, sea, space and cyberspace synergies to a much greater extent than may have been envisioned years ago.

Operating within this concept, Army TRADOC Commander Gen. David Perking and Air Force Air Combat Command Commanding

General are launching a new series of tabletop exercises to replicate and explore future warfare scenarios – the kind of conflicts expected to require technologically advanced Army-Air Force integration.

In a Pentagon report, Holmes said the joint wargaming effort will “turn into a doctrine and concept that we can agree on.”

Such a development would mark a substantial step beyond prior military thinking, which at times over the years has been slightly more stove-piped in its approach to military service doctrines.

Interestingly, the new initiative may incorporate and also adjust some of the tenants informing the 1980’s Air-Land Battle Doctrine; this concept, which came to fruition during the Cold War, was focused on integrated air-ground combat coordination to counter a large, mechanized force in major warfare. While AirLand battle was aimed primarily at the Soviet Union decades ago, new Army-Air Force strategy in today’s threat environment will also most certainly address the possibility of major war with an advanced adversary like Russia or China. In fact, the Army’s new Operations 3.0 doctrine already explores this phenomenon, as it seeks to pivot the force from more than a decade of counterinsurgency to preparedness for massive force-on-force warfare.

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Jumping more than 40 years into the future beyond AirLand Battle into to today’s threat climate, the notion of cross-domain warfare has an entirely new and more expansive meaning. No longer would the Air Force merely need to support advancing armored vehicles with both air cover and forward strikes, as is articulated in Air-Land Battle, but an Air Force operating in today’s war environment would need to integrate multiple new domains, such as cyber and space.

After all, drones, laser attacks, cyber intrusions and electronic warfare (EW) tactics were hardly on the map in the 1980s. Forces today would need to harden air-ground communications against cyber and EW attacks, network long-range sensor and targeting technology and respond to technologically-advanced near-peer attack platforms, such as 5th-generation stealth fighters or weaponized space assets.

These considerations are at the heart of the Army-Air Force initiative. A recent article in the National Defense University Press, authored by Holmes and Perkins, defines the parameters of this emerging Army-Air Force cross-domain initiative.

“The rate and speed of current and future world events will not allow us the time to synchronize federated solutions. In order to present the enemy with multiple dilemmas, we must converge and integrate our solutions and approaches before the battle starts. We must also become sensor-shooter agnostic in all our platforms, and we must develop a common operating picture,” the article in the National Defense University Press states.

While the particulars of any new doctrine have yet to be determined, based in large measure upon what is learned through these upcoming war games, the U.S. military services are already moving forward testing and advancing the broad parameters of cross-domain fires.

At exercises such as Northern Edge, fighter aircraft have been used in close coordination with Army ground weapons and surface ships to identify and attack targets together in a coordinated fashion. One senior Army official, speaking at length to Warrior Maven, explained that many current mobile ground-attack systems, such as artillery, can be used and adapted for attacks on air and sea enemy targets.

To cite an example, the senior official said an Army M777 Howitzer could be used in strategically vital areas, such as the South China Sea, to hold enemy aircraft or enemy ships at-risk.

The Army’s Program Executive Office Missiles and Space, as part of this strategic effort, is currently pursuing software upgrades to the ATACMS missile to better enable the weapon to hit targets at sea. These concepts, which seek to envision roles and dynamics not initially envisioned for a ground-to-ground weapon, comprise the conceptual epicenter of cross-domain fires.

The notion of Cross-Domain fires is woven into the recognition that new sensor technologies, faster computer processing and things like artificial intelligence increasingly enable attack platforms to function as sensors – nodes on a larger, joint, integrated combat enterprise.



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Army delivers first electronic warfare weapons to troops in Europe

The Army Rapid Capabilities Office is delivering some of its first electronic warfare capabilities to soldiers in Europe.

Soldiers in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, 1st Infantry Division are the first to receive prototype systems that fight against adversaries on the electromagnetic spectrum.

“For the last 16 years, 17 years, the U.S. has been at war in a counter insurgency fight with all of its assets focused on winning in Iraq and Afghanistan. In that time, our near-peer competitors have studies our concepts, have studied our tactics, techniques and procedures. They’ve invested in areas where they believe they can defeat our strengths,” RCO Director Douglas Wiltsie told Federal News Radio in a Feb. 8 interview.

Wiltsie said the reason the Army is pursuing a quick development of electronic warfare capabilities to fight in Europe against adversaries like Russia.


The capabilities will help soldiers maneuver in ground operations without being disrupted by enemy electronic warfare tactics.

“These are both electronic sensing, electronic support and there is electronic attack. The systems are broken into systems that can be dismountable and are mountable and then there is a command and control system that brings all those things back together to provide the soldiers a picture of what’s out in front of them,” Wiltsie said.

Soldiers are currently finishing up their training in the new capabilities.

Col. Marty Hagenston, Army project manager for electronic warfare and cyber, told Federal News Radio the soldiers being trained are a mix of signals officers and cyber experts.

“The training progression really starts from some signal theory and some radio frequency theory that they have to understand, most of them do, but we have to reinforce that. It gets to system specific buttonology and configuration of the system, like for the dismounted system and mounted platforms there are certain things they must do to operate it correctly. There are situational training exercises that pulls them all together. … And then there’s staff integration and that’s really on the unit, which is how they are going to integrate these things into the processes they have now,” Hagenston said.

The purpose of the prototypes is to bridge the prototypes to actual programs of record in the future.

RCO worked closely with soldiers to figure out their needs and to give user feedback starting at the requirements through testing.

RCO was created by the Army in 2016 to quickly field much-needed technologies like electronic warfare and positioning, navigation and timing.

“It’s all about taking a combatant commander’s requirement where there is a gap, being able to provide a material solution, and it’s not always material, and taking that gap from here to here,” Wiltsie said last May as he shortened the distance between his hands.

RCO is taking the Silicon Valley route of working by using rapid prototyping and trying to fail fast.

The office started making headway in the first month of its existence.

“We have three test exercises going on as part of the advanced warfighter assessment out in Fort Bliss in October. One for cyber and one for electronic warfare to help us understand not only the problem set, but the equipment that we have today and what capability if it’s repurposed will it provide,” Wiltsie said in October when the office was in its nascent stages. “From there, you’re going to see things before Christmas looking for information, so it’s moving. We need the board to tell us specifically we are on the right track.”

The Army plans to increase contract speeds through the use of Other Transaction Agreements, a contracting vehicle that groups companies into consortiums.

Once in the consortiums, the companies and the Army agree to set rules that quicken the acquisition process.

“There are five that exist today … we’ve utilized two of them. The one I’ve utilized the most is the C5 consortium, which is basically focused on cyber and so we’ve used them to build capability that the cyber teams need and we’ve had great success with it. I want it to go faster. It has not gone as fast as I want it to, but it’s an opportunity to go quick, see what’s available, hone the requirements without a lot of process and then get something in that we can prototype,” Wiltsie said.


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Proof’s in the Patent: Hacking, Jamming Drone That Can Destroy Itself After a Mission

Talk of drones that can hack air-gapped or isolated systems or devices has been going on for awhile.

Now, there is action, in the form of a 2018 patent request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Electronic warfare and cyber effects? Now that will get your attention, won’t it?

I just finished reviewing the patent request, and the drone sounds and looks like a flying wing-type design that can silently travel up to 150 mph when needed, but also reduce to a “loiter speed” near a target for at least 30 minutes.


The scenario listed is one where Surface to Air Missiles threaten U.S. Air operations during a battle. The unmanned drone would silently fly its way to a site where a Surface to Air Missile is setup, and potentially jam its signal or deliver a harmful cyber payload.

Will the drone have enough juice in its hydrogen battery to get back to where it was launched? It is designed to crash to the ground as a clean machine.

Says the patent request: “One benefit of this type of EW (electronic warfare) payload is its ability to self-sanitize after use, which allows it to delete data, codes, and other information at the end of flight. Accordingly, after a mission has been completed, the SUAS 10 may be crashed into a ground surface without fear of an enemy gaining data carried by the EW payload.”

Who filed for this patent? Current Department of Defense contractor Selex Galileo. See the hacking drone patent request here.

This sounds like great technology if it’s on your side. But how long before hackers figure out something similar that can fly over open environments like refineries or dams?

The answer to that question is still up in the air.


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Russia Steadily Cultivating Electronic Warfare While US, NATO Lag Behind

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin / Getty Images

BY: Follow @nataliejohnsonn

February 1, 2018 5:00 am

Russia has steadily improved its electronic warfare capabilities to prepare for potential conflict with the West, while the United States and its NATO partners have suffered a lapse in training for battle against regional powers amid ongoing counterterrorism operations, according to a leading analyst of Moscow’s military developments.

Pentagon officials have warned that future wars will be fought using unseen weapons, like electromagnetic waves that disrupt radio communications or jam global positioning systems and drones, to cripple enemy forces. These electronic warfare capabilities operate in an invisible battle space called the electromagnetic spectrum, or EMS.

The nearly two-decade American-led campaign against insurgent groups that use relatively unsophisticated weaponry has forced the United States to deprioritize investment in this realm. Defense officials eyeing Russian offensives in Ukraine and Syria are now concerned that the U.S. military has lost its edge in countering and waging electronic warfare against near-peer adversaries.

“[NATO does] not exercise to put forces into an EMS-contested battle space, the Russians do, and they feel they’re making advances in this area that gives them an injection of confidence,” Roger McDermott, a senior research fellow in war studies at King’s College London, said Monday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

The Kremlin most recently demonstrated its electronic warfare capabilities earlier this month when Russian military hackers used cyberware to take out several armed drones that attacked two of its military bases in western Syria.

In Ukraine, Russia has deployed an array of hybrid tools to deny Kiev the use of information space, including advanced jamming technologies to shutdown government communications and cyber attacks against critical infrastructure.

“The Russian military for many years has regarded the EMS as a lethal space; it’s only now that we’re seeing a closing of the gap between the capabilities, the procurement, and their military thinking,” McDermott said. “It should be no surprise for us to come to the conclusion that the Russian general staff see the EMS as a potential Russian war fighting domain.”

Michael Kofman, a senior research scientist in Russian affairs at CNA, a nonprofit research institute, said in remarks at CSIS that Moscow is training in a heavily contested EMS environment under the assumption that the United States and NATO militaries will ultimately “wake up” and bolster its electronic warfare capabilities.

In a new U.S. intelligence directorate, the Joint Chiefs of Staff warned Russia and China are developing weapons capable of “severely disrupting or destroying” all American satellites in the next several years.

The Pentagon’s Defense Science Board warned in March that “advances and proliferation in advanced electronic warfare … capabilities threaten our ability to maintain information superiority.”

“This reality should be considered a crisis to be dealt with immediately,” the board wrote.

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Electronic Warfare Trumps Cyber For Deterring Russia

CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: NATO’s plans to defend the Baltic States are “inadequate” because they don’t take full account of Russia’s electronic warfare capabilities, a leading expert warns.

ICDS photoICDS photo

Roger McDermott

The Russians are hardly invincible, Roger McDermott emphasized at CSIS Tuesday. The story of them “shutting down” the Aegis radar on the USS Cook in 2014 is pure propaganda, he said, and their soldiers let slip secrets on social media just as ours do over Fitbit. But nevertheless, Russian EW forces are numerous, well-equipped, well-coordinated with other combat arms like air defense and artillery, and above all honed by years of electronic combat — all things their US Army counterparts are not.

That makes it “more vital and pressing” to rebuild western electronic warfare than to build up new capabilities in cyber warfare, McDermott writes. Ironically, McDermott’s study was sponsored in part by the Estonian government, which has focused on cyber ever since Russian hackers took down its internet in 2007.

Wikimedia CommonsWikimedia Commons

Russian Krasukha-2 radar jamming system, reportedly deployed in Syria

Russian Successes

Since McDermott first presented his paper in Estonia last fall, Russia has shown off its electronic warfare skills in combat once again, this time in Syria. In early January, a still-unknown party launched 13 armed drones against the Russian HQ at Hmeimin airbase and against the Russian naval base at Tartus.

CNA photoCNA photo

Sam Bendett

In contrast to previous attacks by old-fashioned mortars that killed two Russian servicemen, none of the drones reached their targets. Seven were destroyed by the Pantsir (Shell) anti-aircraft system, which fired expensive missiles at the cheap drones. The other six were neutralized electronically, which could mean anything from sending them false commands — a hybrid cyber/electronic warfare attack — to old-school, brute-force radio jamming of their GPS receivers or control links so they couldn’t navigate. Whatever the EW technique used, it was effectively free.

“The attempted drone swarm attack (is) way better than a snap inspection (or) simulating it or trying to exercise,” McDermott said. “One of the reasons the Russian armed forces… are booming with confidence at this point is because they’re gaining such operational experience.” Even though the drones used in Syria were “rudimentary,” McDermott said, defeating them was still good real-world practice, not only for using electronic warfare itself but for using EW in concert with other arms, in this case air defense.

It was clearly a layered defense integrating jammeres with radar and anti-aircraft missiles, agreed Samuel Bendett, a CNA expert on Russian military technology. “In this case, the 13 drones were located, identified, then jammed/hacked, (and) those that broke through were destroyed by an air defense system – all long before these drones reached their intended targets,” Bendett told me.”What’s evident now is that Russia’s plan to more closely integrate their EW forces with air/missile defenses is coming to fruition.”

italy V. Kuzminitaly V. Kuzmin

Tracked variant of the Russian Pantsir S1 anti-aircraft missile system (NATO reporting name SA-22 Greyhound)

“We can’t just strip out the EW capability and look at it separately (from) cyber, SIGINT (signals intelligence), air defense,” McDermott said. In Ukraine, for instance, Russian electronic warfare units not only jammed international monitoring drones: They also worked intimately together with Russia’s own drones and its dreaded rocket artillery batteries. Russia EW would jam some Ukrainian communications and triangulate others, finding possible targets that the drones would confirm before calling in a crushing barrage.

“The Russian military is incredibly good at killing things if it can find them, but it always historically struggles at seeing on the battlefield,” said Michael Kofman, a senior research scientist at CNA, who spoke at CSIS alongside McDermott. Electronic warfare simultaneously helps the Russians see the enemy better and blinds the enemy so they can’t target the Russians. The aim is to disrupt the entire “kill chain” — from initial sensor detection of a target, through the decision to engage, to actually hitting it — so Western airpower and long-range precision-guided weapons can’t be brought to bear.

CNA photoCNA photo

Michael Kofman

What if the West jams back? Giving their history of grueling combat, the Russians seem confident they’ll prevail in a conflict where both sides are half-blind. That makes them less worried about how discriminate their own jamming is and whether it interfere with some of their own systems. “How do they operate without jamming themselves?” Kofman said. “The answer is they don’t, they do jam themselves.”

They also train to fight under such conditions, he said. That’s evident from the recent Zapad (West) exercises, in which the Russians conducted live electronic jamming — some of it spilling over into NATO territory, accidentally or otherwise — alongside conventional mechanized maneuvers.

Besides enhancing traditional heavy firepower operations, Kofman said, EW also gives Russian commanders the option of “non-contact operations” to jam, blind, disrupt, and demoralize the enemy without ever firing a shot — indeed, without ever violating NATO territory . Such blurring of the lines between war and peace to create a “grey zone” has become a Russian specialty in recent years.

Without the means to fight back in kind, NATO has no good choices against such grey zone tactics. Deescalate and you let Russian get away with whatever bullying, subversion, or outright annexation it was trying. Escalate and you invite the Russians to unleash their formidable conventional forces. In short, McDermott said, “on Russia’s periphery, Russia has escalation dominance.”

That doesn’t mean they can just flip a switch and remotely turn off NATO’s electronics, McDermott emphasized. “They won’t take it all out,” he said, “(but) they will build the EW component into …. making any NATO operation in the Baltic, or elsewhere on NATO’s eastern flank, as difficult, as costly, as complex, as possible….and in worse case scenario, we lose.”

Russian MOD photoRussian MOD photo

Russian Borisoglebsk-2 long-range EW system

Russian Capabilities

How big is the Russian electronic warfare force? The real numbers are naturally a state secret, but Kofman was willing to help me make a rough estimate of nearly 9,000 in the ground forces alone, with thousands more in the navy and air force. In stark contrast to the United States, where the main remaining EW force is Navy aircraft — Growlers and Prowlers — and the Army has almost nothing, Russia’s most powerful EW is in the Army.

The big deal isn’t just how big these Russian EW forces are: It’s how intimately they’re integrated with combat units and thus combat operations. “It’s found throughout every arm of service, every branch of service, it’s almost impossible to avoid EW capability, which very much contrasts to western militaries,” said McDermott. “If we look at the staff officers in a United States brigade, we’re going to find two, maybe three maximum.”

In stark contrast to the US, since 2008, every single Russian combat brigade has been given its own electronic warfare company: McDermott estimates its strength at “150 to 180 EW specialists,” while Kofman suspects it’s less than half that, 75. Even at a compromise guesstimate of 100 per company, with one company in each of 28 motor-rife and tank “separate brigades,” that’s 2,800 EW specialists just in frontline tactical units alone, equipped with jammers that reach out roughly thirty miles (50 km).

courtesy Roger McDermott

What’s more, there are five independent “EW brigades” — really more like battalions at 1,200 troops apiece — that have more powerful equipment, with ranges of “several hundreds of kilometers” according to McDermott. These brigades add another 6,000 personnel. That’s not counting the inevitable overhead of troops not currently in a unit, for example because they’re students or instructors at advanced technical schools.

Now, not all these soldiers are chess-playing Russian geniuses. One of the best sources on the ostensibly covert war in Ukraine is social media posts by Russian troops, often complete with geographic metadata that clearly places them on the wrong side of the border. Even sensitive electronic warfare equipment shows up on shared photos.

“When you look at the social media you can find almost all of the known systems, Russian EW systems, popping up somewhere in Donbas,” said McDermott, “maybe not for terribly long but they were certainly there and certainly experimenting.” The Russians appear to be putting all their technology through a trial by fire in Ukraine to see how well it works and what tactics are best.

Even for the majority of units that don’t get to go to Ukraine, said Kofman, the integration of electronic warfare into every frontline brigade gives conventional combat-arms commanders first-hand experience working with EW personnel, technology, and tactics.

Administration of the President of RussiaAdministration of the President of Russia

Russian generals with Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad

Compared to Western soldiers, lower-ranking Russian troops may lack initiative at the lower levels, but that’s not true for higher echelons of command, especially among those blooded in Ukraine, McDermott said: “The Russian generals that are rotating in and out of Donbas have a similar level of initiative, in my view, to their western counterparts.”

It’s also worth noting that the Russian army’s EW branch has its own general officers, with the equivalent of an American two-star as the branch chief (Major General Yuriy Lastochkin). A 2016 article in the official journal of the General Staff even proposed elevating electronic warfare from a support function to a full-fledged combat arm. By contrast, the highest-ranking electronic warfare officer in the United States Army is a colonel, and US Army electronic warfare is being subsumed into the newly created cyber branch.

Perhaps this lack of institutional advocates explains why US Army electronic warfare forces still don’t have a long-range offensive jammer, only short-range systems to neutralize roadside bombs, although some stopgap systems are being fielded. Meanwhile the Russian army has an arsenal of electronic warfare gear and plenty of troops experienced in using it.

Roger McDermottRoger McDermott

Roger McDermott graphic


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Russia Maximizes Electronic Warfare Use to Achieve Spectacular Results: UK Expert

Russia has integrated electronic warfare capabilities into its conventional warfare assets to achieve spectacular results in real battle scenarios such as in Syria, a leading expert on the Kremlin’s armed forces said Monday.

Roger McDermott, a senior research fellow in war studies at King’s College London cited their recent response to a drone swarm attack on a Russian air base and naval facility in Syria, he said, “all were brought down” by conventional air defense or jamming using electronic warfare tools.

In Ukraine, small electronic warfare units of the Russian military have crossed the border to jam the Kiev government’s communications or enhance the fire control of the separatists’ artillery, before pulling back to their own territory shortly after, McDermott said while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., USNI News reported.

In his recent report on electronic warfare, McDermott noted that Moscow had already begun the integration of its electronic warfare capabilities with conventional military hardware and software when it seized Crimea and Ukraine in 2014. Already in place in each motorized rifle brigade was an EW unit of 150 to 180 non-conscript soldiers engaged in planning and executing missions. In addition, each of the country’s five military districts had an EW element assigned to their headquarters, as do each of the armed forces.

McDermott said the United States and NATO do not have their armed forces organized in that way.

The idea, he said, is to integrate C4ISR [command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], A2/AD [anti-access/area denial], space, cyber and electronic warfare for offensive and defensive military effect.


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Russian Operations, Exercises Have Better Integrated Electronic Warfare

Promotional photos of the Murmansk-BN system. Sputnik Photo

Russia has integrated electronic warfare and offensive and defensive electromagnetic spectrum capabilities into its operations and strategies, in a way not seen from NATO forces in Europe, a leading expert on the Kremlin’s armed forces said Monday.

Roger McDermott, a senior research fellow in war studies at King’s College London, said “the Russians learn by doing” and that they are taking lessons learned in Syria and Ukraine to heart. Citing their recent response to a drone swarm attack on a Russian air base and naval facility in Syria, he said, “all were brought down” by conventional air defense or jamming using electronic warfare tools.

In Ukraine, small electronic warfare units have previously crossed the border to jam the Kiev government’s communications or enhance the fire control of the separatists’ artillery, before pulling back to their own territory shortly after, McDermott said while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

For the Kremlin, “there is an EMS [electro-magnetic spectrum] narrative” in southeastern Ukraine military operations. “They are gaining operational experience.”

In his recent report on electronic warfare, McDermott noted that Moscow had already begun the integration of its electronic warfare capabilities with conventional military hardware and software when it seized Crimea and Ukraine in 2014. Already in place in each motorized rifle brigade was an EW unit of 150 to 180 non-conscript soldiers engaged in planning and executing missions. In addition, each of the country’s five military districts had an EW element assigned to their headquarters, as do each of the armed forces.

McDermott said the United States and NATO do not have their armed forces organized in that way.

The idea, he said, is to integrate C4ISR [command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], A2/AD [anti-access/area denial], space, cyber and electronic warfare for offensive and defensive military effect. The Russian military has been at this reform in strategic thinking since 2008.

“What [President Vladimir] Putin did, he gave stability to the Russian armed forces” in funding, and has done so “consistently for the last few years.” This has allowed the armed forces to move promising projects out of research and development “to get these systems up and running.” He specifically mentioned an anti-communications satellite project that includes a strike system as one of the outgrowths of steady financing from the Kremlin.

Michael Kofman, a senior research scientist at CNA who also spoke at the CSIS event, said the Russians are “also investing in capacity and how they can spread it across the force” when it comes to EW, as well as harnessing new capability in force development, thought and future warfare strategy.

A screenshot from a Russian propaganda video of a Black Sea incident between a Su-24 Fencer and USS Donald Cook (DDG-74).

McDermott said the Russians are not 10-feet tall in this arena. He used the buzzing of destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) by a Sukhoi-24 in the Black Sea in 2014 as an example of exaggerating Russian prowess. Initial news accounts said that, not only did the aircraft come dangerously close to the vessel, but through a new electronic warfare system the Su-24 knocked out the destroyer’s radars and left its Aegis system inoperable.

“That’s mythology that built up,” he said.

Two years later, when the facts became much clearer, the Russian company that builds the electronic warfare system in question said it had never been mounted on a Su-24.

In the same light, McDermott said large military Russian exercises, the Zapad series, shouldn’t be viewed as training for an invasion of the Baltic nations or Poland; instead, it should be seen as what the Russian military would do in the event of NATO meddling in Belarus.

An undated photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin Russian Presidential Press and Information Office Photo

“When they look, they see an unpredictable actor [in NATO with] this appetite to intervene” outside of its area, McDermott said. The Zapad exercises are training to respond to that challenge from the West across the electromagnetic spectrum.

The question for Russian military planners, Kofman said, becomes “how do you achieve superiority” in situations like that. The answer: the Russians are working on asymmetric responses to expected challenges, McDermott added.

Later in the event, McDermott noted that NATO does not conduct any training on that scale, nor does it routinely include EW in its exercises.

“On its periphery, Russia has escalation dominance,” he said.



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‘Game-Changer’: Russian Battle Bot Development Could Eclipse US Program

The Russian military has been testing unmanned ground vehicles over the last few years, including the Nerekhta, the Uran-9, and the Vikhr, as reported by Business Insider.

The Nerekhta, a tracked unmanned ground vehicle, can be equipped with large-caliber machine guns, an AG-30M grenade launcher and anti-tank guided missiles.

The Uran-9 and Vikhr are heavier than the Nerekhta and operate like infantry fighting vehicles. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Nerekhta functioned better than other manned vehicles during training sessions.

In addition, Moscow has made great progress in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, known to be smaller and cheaper than US drones. According to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the country’s unmanned aerial vehicles have flown 16,000 missions in Syria — equivalent to 96,000 hours of flight time.

The chairman of the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee, Viktor Bondarev, recently announced that Russia is studying the concept of drone “swarms” — defined as dozens or more drones operating as a single unit.

Noticing Russia’s recent improved electronic-warfare technologies, the US Army has stepped up its development of an electronic-warfare system to be integrated into a Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system.

The Pentagon’s Integrated Electronic Warfare System will consist of the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool, the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare (MFEW) capability and the Defensive Electronic Attack capability. The MFEW system is a multifunctional cyber, electronic warfare, communications intelligence, electronic intelligence and signal intelligence platform.

According to sources within the Pentagon, the development of autonomous combat drones “could be a game-changer,” cited by Defense One.

But the Kremlin is already a step ahead as, in early November, Bondarev announced that Russia plans to integrate artificial intelligence into military vehicles and combat operations, despite warnings by Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk that AI weaponry may cause a global arms race culminating in a third world war.

“The day is nearing when vehicles will get artificial intelligence. So why not entrust aviation or air defense to them?” Bondarev said.


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Cyber Focus During First Day of Electronic Warfare 2018

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Cyber Focus During First Day of Electronic Warfare 2018

Electronic Warfare (EW) and Cyber are becoming key components to the defensive warfighting arsenal particularly when more military operations are dependent on information superiority. Therefore, dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum and intelligence systems will be a major dictator future missions and mitigate the risk presented by hybrid networks.

The first day of Electronic Warfare 2018 began with a dedicated Cyber Focus Day, chaired by Tim Watts, Former Signals Chief, British Army, to provide militaries, government agencies and industry organisations an opportunity to discuss ways to realign their electronic warfare and cyber capabilities while improving cooperation on joint operations.

At the strategic level we heard how the Australian Defence Forces’ approach is developing to take cyber into account, and from the International Military Staff how NATO shapes EW strategy, procurement and training.

The US Army in Europe gave a brief introduction, too, to the work of the Joint Multinational Readiness Centre. An understanding of the specific demands for cyber and EW at the tactical level was covered by the Danish Army Intelligence Centre, and NCIA set out how internal defensive cyber activities are conducted for NATO’s strategic and operational networks.

In terms of technical capability, Leonardo set out a broad architecture for EW systems, and this was complemented by a detailed look by Tallinn University at the challenge of securing the operation of very small processors in control systems and the Internet of Things.

Overall it was clear that while the cyber and EW communities use differing terminology, and coordinated doctrine remains in development, there is clear convergence and a need to consider both in developing capability and conducting operations and training.

Electronic Warfare continues for two further days in Warsaw, Poland with NATO member and partner nations discussing how to increase EW and Cyber capabilities.

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