C4iSR: Joint & Common Equipment

US Army aims to undo EW decline

21 October 2016

The US Army is seeking to reconstitute its electronic warfare (EW) capabilities after allowing them to atrophy after the end of the Cold War, General Mark Milley, US Army chief of staff, told the Association of the US Army (AUSA) annual convention in Washington in October 2016.

The DRS Technologies SI-9150 Polaris digital tuner displayed at AUSA 2016. (Giles Ebbutt)The DRS Technologies SI-9150 Polaris digital tuner displayed at AUSA 2016. (Giles Ebbutt)

Noting that future ground warfare "is likely to be non-linear and likely on a non-contiguous battlefield", Gen Milley said this reality will require the ability to fight decentralised, with warfighting capabilities previously held at higher levels of command spread out and able to operate independently.

Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, Commanding General US Army Europe (USAREUR), speaking separately at the same event, remarked upon the Russian EW capability that had been revealed in the Ukraine conflict and the need to be able to achieve a comparable capability.

Bill Guyan, vice president of DRS Technologies C4ISR Group, told IHS Jane's that US Army representatives at AUSA were particularly interested in DRS capabilities in EW, particularly in its current range of modular systems that had been packaged into a variety of different systems for several international customers, although not for the US military. DRS Signal Solutions (originally Watkins Johnson) is the division responsible for EW equipment.

He said that the army was particularly interested in acquiring a tactical capability, which is what DRS has been supplying for the international market, and observed that it needed an interim capability quickly as well as a long-term solution that was both integrated and smart. "[The army] seem very excited that many of the problems they thought they had might be solved," he said. "Having a solution that is mature and that is available off the shelf is really of interest."

Guyan said that DRS has supplied an EW system to Jordan and is in the process of delivering an upgrade, although he would not go into detail.

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