BAE Systems has selected Harris Corporation’s advanced electronic warfare transmitter technology to help protect the U.S. Air Force Special Operations AC/MC-130J aircraft from electronic threats.
The contract was awarded during the fourth quarter of Harris’ fiscal 2017.
What’s in an Electronic Warfare System?
Electronic warfare (EW) systems can be configured for a variety of different missions and use a host of different subsystems.
But despite this incredible sophistication and diversity, there are three main capabilities common to most electronic warfare systems:
- Sensing the environment (receiver sensor)
- Analyzing the environment (signal analysis), and
- Responding to the environment (technique generation and high power transmission)
(Learn how electronic warfare detects and defeats threats long before they can be seen. Courtesy of BAE Systems and YouTube)
Sense and understand the environment
An electronic warfare system, whether configured to attack, protect or support, must have a way to collect and make sense of the signals in its environment.
It must identify what’s out there, understand how it’s using the spectrum, and determining if it’s a threat.
This is the system’s “receive” capability, and it is usually performed by a subsystem called radar warning receiver (RWR).
Address threats head on
If the RWR detects a signal and analysis determines it to be an unavoidable threat, the EW system must then neutralize it and passes the threat data to the technique generator which determines how the system should respond to address the threat.
The technique generator will select the jamming technique with the highest likelihood of success, based on a number of factors including the particular threat’s characteristics, the EW system’s host platform and the domain of battle – land, sea or air.
Jam, broadcast, transmit
For an EW system to conduct electronic attack or electronic protect missions, it must be able to broadcast signals of its own to dominate the electromagnetic spectrum.
Once a threat is analyzed, and a response generated, the EW system’s transmitter(s) ability to precisely radiate electromagnetic energy that make jamming, spoofing, deception and other electronic countermeasures possible.
Harris’ phased array antennas will provide the transmit capability for BAE’s electronic warfare countermeasure systems.
The active, electronically scanned arrays use next-generation semiconductor technology and provide fast, agile beam pointing and high reliability.
“Aircraft like the AC/MC-130J fly at low-altitude and spend extended periods in hostile territory, exposing special operators to a wide range of lethal threats,” said Ed Zoiss, president, Harris Electronic Systems.
“Harris phased array technology will ensure BAE’s electronic countermeasure systems have the directional transmitting power essential for protecting aircraft and crews and bringing them home safely.”