U.S. Army sends first electronic warfare weapons systems to Europe-based troops – Forward Observer Shop

U.S. Army sends first electronic warfare weapons systems to Europe-based troops

As a means of countering rising Russian electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, the U.S. Army has delivered new EW weapons to its forces in Europe.

Soldiers in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, 1st Infantry Division are the first to receive weapons meant to counter and defeat adversaries in the electronic spectrum.

“For the last 16 years, 17 years, the U.S. has been at war in a counterinsurgency fight with all of its assets focused on winning in Iraq and Afghanistan. In that time, our near-peer competitors have studied our concepts, have studied our tactics, techniques, and procedures. They’ve invested in areas where they believe they can defeat our strengths,” RCO Director Douglas Wiltsie said.

The new capabilities will help U.S. forces move in a contested environment without being disrupted or affected by enemy EW systems.

“These are both electronic sensing, electronic support and there is electronic attack. The systems are broken into systems that can be dismountable and are mountable and then there is a command and control system that brings all those things back together to provide the soldiers a picture of what’s out in front of them,” Wiltsie added.

Troops being trained in the new EW systems include signals officers and experts in cyber warfare.

“The training progression really starts from some signal theory and some radio frequency theory that they have to understand, most of them do, but we have to reinforce that. It gets to system specific buttonology and configuration of the system, like for the dismounted system and mounted platforms there are certain things they must do to operate it correctly. There are situational training exercises that pulls them all together. … And then there’s staff integration and that’s really on the unit, which is how they are going to integrate these things into the processes they have now,” Col. Marty Hagenston, Army project manager for electronic warfare and cyber said. [source]

Analysis: In addition to bolstering U.S. military EW capabilities in Europe in the short-term, the Pentagon is also looking at ways of speeding up the acquisition process of newer, more capable systems, to match Russian capabilities. A separate report in American media described the system: “When Army leaders in Europe needed advanced electronic warfare capabilities, they decided they couldn’t wait for years under the current trajectory of the Army’s official program schedule. Instead, they asked the service to develop a faster solution, one that’s now known as Raven Claw 1 and incorporates facets of the existing program called Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool. The latter is a command-and-control planning capability that allows commanders and soldiers to visualize what the effects of electronic warfare will look like in the field on a screen.” [source] This is one of the programs under the faster acquisition process.

In September, another media outlet noted that the U.S. military was being outclassed in the EW spectrum by Russia: “It has become clear to the U.S. military that Russian investment in electronic warfare capabilities may have outpaced anything available in the West.” [source]

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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