TECHNOLOGY: War in the Electromagnetic Spectrum

February 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

Silent Attack

Sailors maneuver an E/A-18G Growler aircraft assigned to Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 141 on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) in 2011.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman K. Cecelia Engrums)

Sailors maneuver an E/A-18G Growler aircraft assigned to Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 141 on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in 2011. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman K. Cecelia Engrums)

A flight of Israeli warplanes swoop in over northern Syria and destroy a suspected nuclear weapon manufacturing site without being noticed until their bombs are dropping on the facility. How? The Israelis have never admitted it, but news accounts revealed that Israeli technicians jammed Syrian anti-aircraft radar and brought down the computer system that operated it.

A U.S. Marine Corps sergeant on patrol in Afghanistan carries a backpack with an odd-shaped antenna, that looks like an old umbrella that’s had its canopy stripped away. The weird looking device is actually a radio signal jammer that keeps would-be roadside bombers from detonating their booby traps by pushing a button on a mobile phone.

A U.S. unmanned aircraft flies near Iranian airspace and then disappears. Iran says it brought down the top secret drone using electronic warfare technology that overrode the commands issued by the drone’s controllers. The Pentagon says the UAV crashed.

What do these disparate technologies have in common? They’re all forms of electronic warfare, the growing defense sector that uses the electromagnetic spectrum – or directed energy – as a weapon to jam an enemy’s systems, confuse defenders or maybe even take over control of an enemy’s technology.

You can read more of my story at the website of the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement, which will conduct an Electronic Warfare Summit March 18-20 in the Washington area. For details click here.

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Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, Technology, Unmanned Aircraft, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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