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US Navy secretary notes use of EW in current conflicts

USN Secretary Carlos Del Toro touted the EW capabilities of the EA-18G Growlers. (US Navy)

Recent global conflicts highlight the increasing use of electronic warfare (EW) in military operations, US Navy (USN) Secretary Carlos Del Toro said on 12 December during a keynote speech at the Association of Old Crows' (AOC's) 60th Annual International Symposium & Convention at National Harbor, Maryland.

“For the US and our NATO allies, the conflict in Ukraine reinforces the emphasis we place on developing and maintaining a ready, interoperable combat power that is capable of fighting in contested environments, including the electromagnetic spectrum,” Del Toro said.

“In Europe, we continue to bear witness to Russia's unprovoked invasion in Ukraine, violating their territorial and national sovereignty,” he added. “This conflict has pushed us into a new era of war, utilising large quantities of unmanned aerial systems that are capable of delivering kinetic effects against an opposing force.”

He said, “In response, we have seen a race to develop and field electronic warfare systems that are capable of defending against this threat from the sky and space. What's more, early in Russia's invasion, we saw them leverage their electronic warfare capabilities in an effort to deny the Ukrainians use of Starlink – an episode that demonstrated the resiliency of a commercial company to counter a nation state's actions directed at disrupting access to space-based resources.”

In the Middle East, he pointed, out, “We continue to see the spillover of Hamas' attacks against Israel on October 7 – including continued attacks against American personnel stationed throughout the region and the targeting of commercial shipping – either by piracy or missiles launched by the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.”

“Over the past two months, [guided-missile destroyers] USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) and USS

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