Controlling the Electromagnetic spectrum - creating air dominance
Decisive Combat Capability created by the Gripen E’s state-of-the-art Electronic Warfare System
Electronic Warfare (EW) commonly refers to military action involving use of Electromagnetic (EM) and Directed Energy (DE) effectors. Over decades, modern EW has grown leaps and bounds from the days of simple jamming of radars and radio communication systems. Today, it is often perceived to be about sensing and seeing, deceiving and denying to ensure efficient mission survivability. However, in the highly contested and rapidly changing mission environments of the future, this, no longer may be true?
But let’s start from the beginning… in the fighter domain, EW is fundamentally split into three divisions:
• Electronic Protection (EP); includes actions taken to protect personnel, equipment and facilities from the effects of hostile, neutral or friendly use of EW, as well as naturally occurring phenomena that degrade, neutralize or destroy own combat capability.
• Electronic Attack (EA); involves use of EM energy, DE or anti-radiation weapons to attack personnel, equipment or facilities with the intent of degrading (suppressing), neutralizing or destroying enemy fighting capability.
• Electronic Support (ES); refers to actions to search for, intercept, identify and locate emitter sources for the purpose of immediate threat recognition, targeting, planning and conduct of future operations.
Modern radar and air defence systems are increasingly agile in their operation. Through the use of the latest technologies, agile networking and new adaptive operating methods, today’s fighter pilots are faced with extremely complex and volatile signal environments. This means that requirements of modern fighting units’ and their EW capabilities are very demanding. One way to overcome these challenges is the utilisation of Network Enabled Warfare, where sensors and systems, both on-board and on other platforms, work collaboratively. This enables the execution of the EW mission in totally new and efficient ways that are unpredictable from the adversaries’ perspective. The automated information exchange, combined with the highly evolved Human Machine Collaboration (HMC) in the Gripen E, delivers a decisive information advantage which ensures the right course of action at every moment of the fight. As a result, the system guarantees unique situational awareness, optimized survivability and lethality and, maximized mission success for every mission.
Enhanced Electronic Protection, Electronic Attack and ISTAR Capability
The Gripen EW System provides Electronic Protection by maximizing use of cutting-edge technologies and applications. It delivers full 360 degrees spherical wide spectral coverage thus providing every Gripen E with an electronic shield, delivering survivability in highly contested environments. The system works seamlessly with the Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS), BOL dispenser and other passive & active counter-measures.
Gripen E’s powerful EW System can be used offensively for Electronic Attack missions. A combination of internal and external jamming resources, tailored radar features, as well as air launched decoys are used, to counter, prevent and confuse any threat, significantly eliminating the adversary’s combat ability from long range. The Gripen Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) system can efficiently suppress and significantly degrade any adversary’s sensor and weapon systems detection, tracking and targeting abilities.
The Gripen E Electronic Support capability is created by highly integrated use of the AESA radar, RWR and its electronic signal measurement capabilities, to detect, identify and locate all sources of radiated EM energy. This enables full combat intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (Combat ISTAR) capabilities on Gripen E providing very valuable support to all co-operating friendly fighting forces.
As a result of the above and Gripen E’s open architecture, advanced software methods/techniques and the functional partitioning of flight and mission critical functionality, Gripen is designed to be easily adaptable as new capabilities can be rapidly introduced to the system as and when new threats arise and as new technologies evolve. This will ensure Gripen E’s continuous operational relevance through life of the platform and gives Gripen E all the necessary capabilities to control the Electromagnetic spectrum and deliver Air Dominance in high threat environments for decades to come.
NOTE: The first generation of Saab’s radar warner was installed on a Saab 32 Lansen more than 60 years ago during the Cold War. As pioneers in Electronic Warfare, Saab philosophy has always been to invest in innovative technologies to detect, deceive and counter threats in the smartest possible ways.