In discussions with Harris it became clear that the emphasis on EW is moving into the stratosphere making space the next stage for EW activity.
Dictionary definition of Electronic Warfare
The dictionary definition of Electronic Warfare is, ‘military action involving the use of electromagnetic energy to determine or exploit or reduce or prevent hostile use of the electromagnetic spectrum.’
“For 60 years, customers have turned to Harris capabilities in electronic warfare (EW) to dominate the electromagnetic spectrum. We provide the knowledge, technology and techniques needed for mission success against threats across air, land and sea domains.” Andy Dunn said. “The electromagnetic spectrum pervades every aspect of the modern mission. There is no success on the ground, at sea, in the air or in space without winning the airwaves. Having helped create the field of EW, no company better understands the complex substance and strategic importance of electromagnetic spectrum operations. Harris technology provides our customers with a penetrating view of the threat landscape, protection against sophisticated, ever-changing threats and the ability to harness the spectrum for a persistent tactical advantage. From multi-spectral situational awareness and highly accurate threat warning to sensor fusion and countermeasures capabilities, Harris EW provides the critical edge that saves lives, protects equipment and enables mission success.”
For years the US and its NATO Allies appeared to have world dominance of the Electronic Warfare area, however recent events and cyber activities in particular, have shown that others are moving fast in this area and indeed may have been way in front of the US for many years. These countries include Russia, China and North Korea. Because EW is perceived as a ‘black art,’ which its users are reluctant to discuss, when deployed, its consequences are sudden, hard hitting and difficult to combat as recent events in Estonia and cyber attacks in Ukraine and other countries have shown this year. One growing activity is the jamming of the GPS signal by Russia, a long-held capability and now available widely from on-line suppliers.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) network is called Navstar and is paid for and operated by the US Department of Defence (DoD). This Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is currently the only fully operational system but Russia has GLONASS, China has COMPASS and the EU has GALILEO each at varying stages of development or testing.
As a military system, Navstar was originally designed and reserved for the sole use of the military but civilian users were allowed access in 1983. Back then, accuracy for civilian users was intentionally degraded to +/- 100m using a system known as Selective Availability (SA) but this was eliminated in May 2000.
The Satellite Network
The GPS satellites transmit signals to a GPS receiver. These receivers passively receive satellite signals; they do not transmit and require an unobstructed view of the sky, so they can only be used effectively outdoors. Early receivers did not perform well within forested areas or near tall buildings but later receiver designs such as SiRFStarIII, MTK etc have overcome this and improved performance and sensitivity markedly. GPS operations depend on a very accurate time reference, which is provided by atomic clocks on board the satellites.
Each GPS satellite transmits data that indicates its location and the current time. All GPS satellites synchronize operations so that these repeating signals are transmitted at the same instant. The signals, moving at the speed of light, arrive at a GPS receiver at slightly different times because some satellites are further away than others. The distance to the GPS satellites can be determined by estimating the amount of time it takes for their signals to reach the receiver. When the receiver estimates the distance to at least four GPS satellites, it can calculate its position in three dimensions.
There are at least 24 operational GPS satellites at all times plus a number of spares. The satellites, operated by the US DoD, orbit with a period of 12 hours (two orbits per day) at a height of about 11,500 miles traveling at 9,000mph (3.9km/s or 14,000kph). Ground stations are used to precisely track each satellite’s orbit.
Here is an interesting comparison. The GPS signals are transmitted at a power equivalent to a 50 watt domestic light bulb. Those signal have to pass through space and our atmosphere before reaching your satnav after a journey of 11,500 miles. Compare that with a TV signal, transmitted from a large tower 10 – 20 miles away at most, at a power level of 5-10,000 watts. And compare the size of your TV’s roof mounted antenna with that of your GPS, often hidden inside the case itself. A wonder then that it works as well as it does and when the occasional hiccup occurs you will at least understand the reasons why.
“The original, principal job of the GPS system was to replace the Star Tracker system to guide ballistic missiles in flight. The GPS constellation made the delivery more timely and accurate but at the time, the U.S. Government also degraded the accuracy of the publicly available signals for security purposes. In the late 1990s, The US Government made the policy decision to “turn off” that restriction, called Selective Availability. Together, the initial use of Selective Availability and then its elimination spawned a whole industry of GPS value added services as we now know it. It also spawned an industry of GPS jammers! Other countries have now developed their own GPS systems, Russia has GLONASS, China has COMPASS and the EU has GALILEO each at varying stages of development, testing, or operational maturity.” Gil Klinger said.
2016 US UOR for anti-GPS jamming equipment
To illustrate how serious the problem has become in Eastern Europe, in 2016 the US issued an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) for anti-GPS jamming equipment due to the Russians upping the tempo against Stryker Brigades on the Estonian Border where resources are being stretched and the U.S. Army is seeking recovery or a solution. What experts believe is that the Russians are targeting certain areas where U.S. Forces are based to isolate them from the battlefield. Russia has long been a specialist in such technology. Raytheon UK is expected to be one of the bidders.
The U.S. Army and SOCOM are taking the ability of countries to jam the GPS system very seriously. They faced a number of jamming attacks in Afghanistan and now attacks are occurring in Europe. To that end President Obama issued a National Security Presidential Directive -39 in 2013 stating that the provision of anti-GPS jamming equipment was in the top three of military priorities. Thus the US Army Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing Program (A-PNT) was initiated.
A-PNT requires cooperation with foreign defence organizations, to develop, test, and acquire navigation warfare capabilities to effectively utilize GPS in the event of adversary jamming or other interference.
Due to size, weight and cost, GPS anti-jam implementation has been limited to strategic Naval and Air assets; advances in miniaturisation of electronics now makes this capability available to Land units at an affordable implementation price.
The U.S. Army Acquisition Executive (AAE) has indicated that Assured PNT is a top priority, it issued the Army PNT System of Systems Strategy memo on 22 April 2013 which calls for, reduced PNT requirements, inefficiencies/redundancies, decreased Warfighter vulnerabilities and an affordable migration path to M-Code for all Army systems.
Harris EW products
Harris is a world leader in EW products in all three domains; for the land environment Signal Sentry is a system which can detect the source of the GPS jamming.
Signal Sentry™ 1000
Signal Sentry™ 1000 is a commercially available intelligence system that leverages Harris’ world-class Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signal domain knowledge to provide real-time alerts and analytics that locate and help mitigate sources of GPS interference.
How Signal Sentry™ 1000 Works
Actionable intelligence from Signal Sentry™ is provided through an easy-to-use, web-enabled, graphical user interface that offers longitude and latitude data as well as pin mapping of interference sources. From protecting GPS spectrum integrity to aiding in law enforcement operations that require GPS availability, Signal Sentry™ 1000 has it covered.
* Identify and geolocate jamming sources instantly, improving situational awareness
* Detect jamming occurrences and geolocate the source of interference in real time
* Defend against disruption of GPS guidance, traffic, and asset control systems
* Protect against interference of GPS tracking of high-value assets
* Quickly locate jamming sources to defend against disruption to critical infrastructure
* Provide jamming event playback and data analytic tools to support forensic investigations
Harris also produces other EW products including ECCM for ATM Radars.
Harris has more than sixty years of experience delivering electronic warfare (EW) technology for airborne platforms. Aircrews on bombers, fighters, and rotary aircraft must be protected against any threats they may encounter in order to remain focused on their mission. Harris has the technology and experience to keep aviators safe from next generation threats. Our EW technology offers sophisticated sensor fusion for multispectral situational awareness, as well as internal and podded self-protect and jamming capabilities for maximum fleet availability and readiness.
“Crews flying B-52 and B-1B aircraft have a challenging and essential mission, and as global military strategy pivots, they face a range of new threats. With larger radar cross sections and missions designed to penetrate well-defended and contested airspace, strategic aircraft have specific and complex needs when it comes to electronic warfare situational awareness and self- protection.” Andy Dunn said, “Tactical fighters and rotary aircraft experience a wide range of missions, from penetrating contested airspace and suppression of air defense systems, to providing close air support, reconnaissance, insertion and exfiltration. Their aircrews face wildly varying conditions, including supersonic speeds, low altitude flight and densely populated hostile environments. Remaining focused on these complex, critical missions in the face of proliferating threats is a huge challenge for aviators.”
“Harris airborne EW systems support and enable missions across all these conditions by helping aviators understand the threat landscape in order to detect, avoid, and where necessary, defeat threats at every level of engagement. We work closely with our customers– including all U.S. military services, the special operator community and international aviators – to provide support and keep capabilities current in the face of ever-changing threats.”
Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS)
The Harris Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) provides fighter aircraft with the technology edge for mission success and survivability. Based on a modular system approach, AIDEWS can be tailored to unique customer requirements to provide integrated radar warning and RF countermeasures and advanced stand-alone radar warning.
AIDEWS is a modular electronic warfare system for a wide array of fighter aircraft. This modular systems approach is now available in an externally mounted pod, either for Electronic Warfare (EW) system upgrades or to add EW capability to a wide array of fighter aircraft. The pod-based system leverages our proven modular, scalable ALQ-211 system and ensures EW capability for deployment around the world.
To underline this capability, in April 2016 Harris received an $88m order to supply electronic jammers for U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet aircraft. The jammers protect the Navy jets from sophisticated electronic threats, including modern integrated air defense systems. The order was received during the third quarter of Harris’ fiscal 2016.
Under the modification to the contract awarded in July 2015, Harris will manufacture and deliver 48 on-board electronic warfare jamming systems for the Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) program. Deliveries are expected to be completed by December 2018.
Harris provides a full range of services including electronic warfare system installation, integration, testing, training and customer support. Leading the path for the future, Harris has developed the U.S. Department of Defense’s next-generation of aircraft survivability suites.
Harris’s ALQ-211 Suite of Integrated RF Countermeasures (SIRFC) serves on a variety of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, including the CV-22, NH-90, F-16, MH-47 and MH-60. The Advanced Integrated Defensive EW Suite (AIDEWS), procured by multiple international customers to protect F-16 fighters The ALQ-214 IDECM RFCM will protect front line aircraft including the F/A-18E/F. ALQ-172, which provides highly effective protection to B-52 bombers and Special Operations C-130 aircraft. The AN/ALQ-211 system is already in service with Pakistan (internal), Oman, Chile and Poland in Pod form.
“Harris continues to work with the U.S. and its allies, developing new systems to detect and counter emerging threats to warfighters and military platforms. We have had considerable interest in our new AN/ALQ-211(V)9 Pod produced in association with Meggitt, in addition we are working on lightweight and low-power EW suites for UAV applications.” Andy Dunn said.
The AN/ALQ-211(V)9 Pod provides fighter aircraft with the technology edge for mission success and survivability. The system allows upgrades to internally mounted systems. The system leverages Harris’s proven modular, scalable ALQ-211 (V)4 system, offering state-of-the art technology, including digital receiver technology for current or legacy fighter aircraft, ensuring EW capability for world-wide deployments. Because of the modular nature of the product it has excellent growth capability including the addition of a towed decoy system and an embedded, stand-alone digital RWR can augment an on-board Radar Warning receiver. The system can be used in conjunction with a targeting pod.
Harris also supplies rotary winged customers and on November 14, 2005 it received a 3-year contract from the U.S. Army’s Technology Applications Program Office, Fort Eustis, VA, to produce electronic warfare systems for Special Operations Army helicopters.
Space, The Final Frontier
“As discussed Harris has a range of sensor and other technology capability in every sphere, we are now exploring the applicability of those technologies to respond to to current and perceived threats in space,” Gil Klinger said, “Space is going to a theatre of combat operations, with China and other countries developing diverse capabilities to threaten US, allied, and commercial space systems. In the past, one limitation of space systems is that once they are up there, the ability to update and improve them has been quite limited, for obvious reasons. Harris is using its extensive expertise across the full range of sensor technologies of interest to the U.S. Government to develop new, innovative, and improved sensing and protection capabilities for our customers.” Gil Klinger concluded
(Sources: How does the Global Positioning System work? Updated 26th June 2011, by Darren Griffin http://www.pocketgpsworld.com; www.vocabulary.com/ Russia Ups Jamming Tempo – The US Responds By Julian Nettlefold)