Spectrum warfare to protect aircraft and pilots

Spectrum warfare experts at Mercury Systems in Andover, Mass., will help the U.S. Air Force find new ways of protecting aircraft and air crews from sophisticated enemy integrated air defense systems (IADS) under terms of a $550,132 contract announced Monday.
Officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, are asking Mercury to find ways of defeating enemy software-defined weapons and communications in electromagnetically contested and congested environments as part of the Spectrum Warfare Enduring Challenges (SWEC) program.
Mercury joins the Perduco Group Inc. in Beavercreek, Ohio, on the SWEC program. Perduco won a $399,915 SWEC contract last February.
This project involves defeating cyber threats to U.S. and allied avionics; using trusted computing approaches to foil enemy attempts to reverse-engineer sensitive technologies; assuring accurate position, navigation, and timing (PNT); defeating enemy missiles and other weapons; developing new electronic warfare (EW) technologies; and developing electro-optical countermeasures to defeat enemy sensors.
In addition, the SWEC program seeks to defeat enemy integrated air defense systems using offensive cyber warfare, radio frequency electronic warfare, and using electro-optical and infrared countermeasures.

Defeating IADS will involve electronic, and electro-optical, and cyber warfare measures to locate, degrade, and reduce the effectiveness of enemy air defenses.

The future battlespace will be electromagnetically contested and congested with digitally based, software defined systems with lethal capabilities at extended ranges. U.S. weapon systems need to operate and dominate in this environment, Air Force researchers explain.

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Defeating cyber threats to avionics will include identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities due to hardware and software deficiencies, developing adaptable and resilient protections, and designing cyber-resistant architectures.
Assured PNT will involve developing methods for maintaining military use of global navigational satellite systems while denying the same to an adversary; improving the accuracy and precision of PNT systems; and developing PNT capabilities that do not rely on satellite navigation systems.

Defeating kinetic threats involves using RF, electro-optical, and infrared countermeasures to defeat incoming enemy missiles and other weapons.

Radio frequency electronic warfare involves developing advanced electronic warfare and electronic attack capabilities in a complex and dynamic denied environment.
Electro-optic and infrared countermeasures involves defeating current and future enemy electro-optical sensors by preventing the launch and firing of these kinds of guided weapons, as well as providing missile warning and laser warning capabilities against incoming munitions.