Harris Co. Explores Cognitive Electronic Warfare Possibilities
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The need to rapidly identify and counter electronic threats in an even faster-moving combat environment is pointing out the need for high-speed processing in electronic warfare hardware and software, including cognitive warfare capabilities.
Harris Co.’s latest version — (V)4/5 — of its ALQ-214 Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures system for the F/A-18 strike fighter is “not a hardware-centric system,” Matt Klunder, vice president for Defense Department Strategy, Global Business Development for Harris, told Seapower.
The new version is an example of “software-defined EW [electronic warfare],” Klunder said.
“The threat doesn’t sit still for a second,” he said, noting that Harris is moving to bring not only high-speed processing but cognitive warfare as well into its EW systems. He said Harris is working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to expand EW coverage and the possibilities of cognitive EW.
“[Processing] speed is necessary for the cognitive part,” he said, noting that reach-back takes minutes and “that would be too late [to counter a threat].”
Not only is “everything coming into an open system,” he said. “We’re now netting those together to optimize coverage.”
Harris has gained plenty of experience in developing rapid processors for use in military aircraft. It has fielded high-speed processors in the Distributed Targeting System-Network (DTS-N) for the Navy’s F/A-18E/F strike fighters and EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft. The DTS is a software-defined system uses imagery from radar, electro-optical and infrared sensors to compare with the system’s library of target data to provide precision strike against targets such as mobile surface-to-air missile systems. The DTS greatly reduces the kill chain time and also can provide target mensuration to other aircraft in the network.
Klunder said that Harris already has delivered prototypes of the processor that will be part of the version of the DTS that will be installed on the Block III of the F/A-18E/F.