ELECTRONIC COUNTERMEASURES (ECM)

ELECTRONIC COUNTERMEASURES (ECM)

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Fig: Electronic Warfare

ELECTRONIC COUNTERMEASURES (ECM)

(ECM) Electronic countermeasure is a electronic device to trick or device the opponents radar, sonar or similar kind of devices like infrared (IR), lasers etc. This technology can be used in both offensive as well as defensive manner. For example, an aircraft could be protected from enemy’s surface to air missiles. This technology can make the moving target look disappear, or show multiple targets or move about randomly on the enemy’s radar. So it basically confuses the opponents about the incoming threat which gives aircraft the time it needs to perform its job. Apart from aircraft, it is also deployed in military ships and even tanks to fool laser/ (IR) guided missiles.

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Fig: Electronic Warfare

Basic Radar ECM strategies include

  1. Radar interference
  2. Target modification
  3. Changing the electrical property of air

Radar interference includes jamming and interference technique. Jamming is done by transmitting the signals on the frequency of the radar such that producing a noise level sufficient to hide echos. Although this will give the enemy clears direction, but no information on range. Deception may be done by using a transponder to mimic the radar echo with a delay, giving them wrong range. Dispersal of aluminum strips called chaff in air changes the electromagnetic property of air confusing the radar echos.

Defensive Electronic Countermeasure (DECM) can also be used defensively as in form of Blip enhancement and jamming of missile terminal homers. Blip enhancement is an electronic warfare technique used to fool radar. Radar basically sends a package of energy which strikes an object and is reflected back which is received by radar to know the velocity and position of an object. The radar presents the target information on a display and displayed targets are called as blips. Based on relative sizes of blips displayed on the screen, the size of the incoming target could be determined. However when the blip enhancement technique is used, small targets returns is augmented to look bigger.

Blip enhancement technique was generally used with aircraft carriers and their escort ships. The air craft carrier is larger in size, exposing it easily to the enemy radar. However when the blip enhancement technique was used the transmitter in the escorts ships received the radar signal and amplified it so that the escort ships also looked like aircraft carriers. Thus it confused the enemy for immediate missile attack on aircraft carrier.

Homing means determining position of something. Missile terminal homers are the guidance system in missile or guided bomers guiding them into the intended targets. Missile and guided bomers have similar type of guidance system, the difference being that missiles are powered by onboard engine while guided bomers rely on speed and height of lunch aircraft for propulsion.

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The Next Generation Jammer is being produced to supplant the current AN/ALQ-99 carried on the E/A-18G and EA-6B electronic fighting planes. Gotten ready for reception around 2020, it will use a small AESA radio wire isolated into quadrants for all around scope and hold the ability of very directional jamming. DARPA’s Precision Electronic Warfare (PREW) extend aims to build up a minimal effort system equipped for synchronizing several simple airborne sticking pods with enough precision to imitate the directionality of an electronically scanned reception apparatus, maintaining a strategic distance from guarantee sticking of non-focused on receivers.

On 10 April 2014, the USS Donald Cook entered the waters of the Black Sea and on 12 April a Russian Su-24 strategic plane flew over the vessel setting off an episode that, as indicated by a few media reports, totally dispirited its team, to such an extent that the Pentagon issued a challenge. The Russian Su-24 that hummed the USS Donald Cook conveyed neither bombs nor rockets yet just a wicker container mounted under the fuselage, which, as indicated by the Russian daily paper Rossiyskaya Gazeta , contained a Russian electronic warfare gadget called Khibiny.

As the Russian jet approached the US vessel, the electronic device disabled all radars, control circuits, systems, information transmission, etc. on board the US destroyer. In other words, the all-powerful Aegis system, now hooked up – or about to be – with the defense systems installed on NATO’s most modern ships was shut down, as turning off the TV set with the remote control.

So, this incident shows a huge interest of both US and Russia, two major competitors in developing next generation (DECM) defensive electronic countermeasure. This electronic battle is likely to rise further in upcoming days as both parties are investing heavily in these technologies so as to give them air superiority and higher defensive capabilities.

Article By: Bibek Sapkota 
Mechanical Engineering Student
Thapathali Engineering Campus

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