Navy next-generation e-warfare targets cellular spectrum

Office of Naval Research Next-Generation BAA (.pdf)

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The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has asked industry to help develop next-generation electronic warfare technologies that will extend the Navy’s e-warfare dominance over a broader range of spectrum, including frequency bands used by cell phone companies, FM radio and TV stations.

ONR said it also wants to develop the capability to detect, locate, track and counter radio frequency emitters beyond the traditional scope of Navy and Marine Corps e-warfare systems. Both services operate EA6B Prowler aircraft that fly e-warfare missions to support all military services.

The goal of e-warfare is to control the electromagnetic spectrum by exploiting, disrupting or denying enemy use while ensuring that friendly forces can use it, ONR said. The Naval Sea Systems Command released a solicitation last week that asks industry to help develop a system that could ensure that jammers designed to counter radio-controlled improvised explosive devices do not jam tactical communications systems.

Besides looking for systems and technologies that can detect and jam many frequencies, ONR also wants to detect and counter systems that use a variety of modulation techniques and waveforms, including phase-coded waveforms used by radars and commercial cellular systems based on Code Division Multiple Access technology.

ONR wants next-generation e-warfare systems that can also locate and counter systems that use spread-spectrum, frequency-hopping signals, such as battlefield tactical radio systems and commercial Wi-Fi systems.

The new e-warfare systems should also be able to focus on systems that operate in the 18 to 40 GHz band, which supports commercial satellite broadcasting networks and military satellite systems.

Next-generation e-warfare systems will also face the challenge of countering passive systems, such as radars based on radio frequency passive coherent location technologies, which use signals from transmitters such as commercial broadcasters as the basis of a detection system, ONR said in a request for white papers.

The office also wants industry input to conduct simulations and field trials that will explore the advantages and limitations of network-enabled e-warfare concepts.

Responses to ONR’s announcement are due May 14.

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