Battlespace Tech

With SWAT, Air Force out to boost its electronic warfare skills

The Air Force is looking to develop cutting-edge electronic warfare technologies and plans to use sophisticated simulations to evaluate and develop them.

The Air Force Research Laboratory recently issued a presolicitation to notify vendors of the Spectrum Warfare Assessment Technologies, or SWAT, program. AFRL expects to issue a full request for proposals in January.

Electronic warfare, or EW, is an increasingly high priority for the military services, which are dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum for an expanding array on unmanned vehicles, sensors, communications systems and mobile networks. Protecting the services’ use of the spectrum from jamming, spoofing or other interference—while developing the ability to interfere with an adversary’s use of it—is seen as crucial to a functioning military. The Pentagon earlier this year issued a directive on incorporating EW into the full range of military operations.

With SWAT, the Air Force intends to use “multispectral synthetic battlespace simulation” to assess how the latest EW technologies would perform in a real-world environment, according to AFRL’s notice. The program will simulate the integration of EW and sensor technologies into Air Force systems, identify and resolve technical problems and risks, and measure the benefits of the technologies.

In advance of the full solicitation, AFRL will host an industry day Dec. 3 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Funding for the program is expected to have a ceiling of $49.5 million. AFRL said the winning vendor would provide hardware, software and data.

In addition to looking for leading-edge EW technologies, ARFL also in working to make the most of the spectrum it has. In September, the lab awarded a $40 million contract to Riverside Research Institute for development of advanced antenna and electromagnetic technology in order to make more efficient use of the spectrum.

That initiative for new EM, or electromagnetic, technologies falls under the lab’s Research and Development in Antenna and Electromagnetic Technology program.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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