C4iSR: Air

Germany sets out ‘challenging’ airborne electronic attack timeline for NATO

13 November 2019

Along with the Boeing EA-18G Growler, the Eurofighter ECR (concept pictured) could form the escort jammer component of the Luftwaffe's airborne electronic attack commitment to NATO. Source: Airbus

The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) is waiting on a government decision to launch a programme to field a dedicated airborne electronic attack (EA) capability for NATO by the mid-2020s, a senior officer said on 13 November.

Speaking in Berlin, Luftwaffe Brigadier-General Christian Leitges, Deputy Chief of Staff Plans and Policy, said the service faces a rapid timeline to deliver the anti-access area denial (A2AD) capability that Germany has committed to NATO under the country's Luftgestützte Wirkung im Elektromagnetischen Spektrum (luWES) programme, and that it expects the go-ahead from the government shortly.

"There is a German commitment to NATO to provide [airborne] jamming in the very near future, say within about five years. This is a very rapid timeline and a very big challenge," Gen Leitges said at the IQPC International Fighter conference, adding that Project luWES should be signed-off in the not-too-distant future if this timeline is to be realised.

According to Gen Leitges, Project luWES is based upon a three-strand system-of-systems (SoS). This comprises a stand-off jammer aircraft, an escort jammer, and a stand-in jammer. The stand-off jammer would consist of about 10 larger aircraft yet to be acquired by the Luftwaffe that would operate at a distance from the target area using an integrated/podded/or palleted EA system; the escort jammer that would be about 12 Eurofighter ECR or Boeing EA-18G Growler platforms; while the stand-in jammer would be an unknown number of small expendable assets such as Remote Carrier unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or MBDA SPEAR-EW decoys operating in the ground-based air defence system's no-escape zone. "There will be attrition in this mission, and so air-launched decoys will be important [to remove humans from danger]," the general said. "We are just about to start this project."

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