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kipanderson

ECM in contemporary land warfare... a few questions?

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Hi,

I don’t know anything about it.

Is it easy to do?

Do all serous militaries plan to use it a lot?

Are the jamming units themselves very vulnerable to detection and therefore to becoming targets?

I have no idea.. any info would help. I am a WWII man, Cold War as well but now it’s all the more important to know this stuff. To get a feel for it. When designing scenarios for example.

Thanks,

We are lucky to have CM.. still.. there is no competition at all :),

All the best,

Kip.

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kipanderson,

ECM. Short version-radar

You have a radar. I don't want you to use it effectively. I jam it. ECM. Electronic Countermeasures. You don't like this, so you redesign your radar to ignore my jammer. ECCM. Electronic counter-countermeasures. Continue game until war is over or one or both sides bankrupt.

ECM. Short version-communications

You have a radio transceiver, so you can control your forces. This is bad, so I jam your operating frequency/ies. Proceed as before, but with tactics and developments tailored to radio operations. The earliest known case of radio jamming dates back to WW I, when a German cruiser being sent to Turkey jammed the pursuing RN warships' operating frequency by broadcasting continually, allowing the ship to escape and dealing the Allies a terrible blow.

The game is dynamic, time urgent and expensive. For better equipped nations, though much of what used to be done via hardware is now done using programmable jammers which can be rapidly reconfigured to meet new threats. This greatly facilitates rapid adjustments which help save preserve own force.

I don't know all that much about the US jammer side of things (was a threat guy, and it was very hard to get Blue weapon data), but from a ground warfare perspective, the Russians had a jammer class operating against every known (and anticipated) NATO airborne surveillance radar: AWACS, JSTARS, ASARS and more. Basically, all NATO's deep look systems, as well as shorter range one. The jammers muddy the situation displays, blank out whole sectors, sometimes whole screens, and cut effective radar range drastically. Yes, they are most certainly targets, which is precisely why the Russians have devoted a great deal of effort to protecting them--clear down to defense vs PGMs (GBU, JDAM, JSOW, Maverick, etc) and antiradar missiles, such as HARM, a mission specific PGM.

They had an equally impressive array of COMJAM capabilities, to include artillery/MRL delivered expendable jammers. A jammer in your underwear is much worse than one on the other side of the battlefield, for the signal strength goes way up because attenuation, for a given ERP (Effective Radiated Power) is practically nil.

OCM. Optical Countermeasures

The same sorts of things can be done in the visual band with obscurants--smoke. Standard smoke (diesel, HC and such) will defeat visual detection and block visible band lasers rangefinders and optical missile tracking beacons, such as early TOW models. The right kind of smoke or obscurant can kill both IR and visual bands--thermal smoke and broadband obscurants, defeating thermal weapon sights, missiles with thermal tracking beacons and fire control systems, such as the Abrams's, using carbon dioxide lasers for rangefinding. There are broadband obscurants which can simultaneously block the IR, visual and radar bands. They don't really block, but instead absorb the energies in the broad frequency band over which they work. Naturally, depending on what's used and what sensors are employed, visual detection, thermal detection, weapon rangefinding and guidance may or may not work. These are soft defenses. Which can also be used offensively. Back when I was at Hughes, the creator of the TOW missile, my nightmare scenario was of Russian blanketing of our positions with broadband obscurants, denying us the long range shots necessary to whittle down all that armor, and forcing us into a close range knife fight with their tanks, a situation in which our wonderful fire control systems wouldn't count for much and superior numbers would tell.

EOCM. Electro-optical Countermeasures.

On the other end of the spectrum are systems going back as far the CDL, Canal Defense Light, a highly classified tank mounted WW II high intensity flickering light beam intended to dazzle enemy gunners. The USMC had dazzlers (intended to defeat ATGM tracking) on its tanks in OIF, and those on either side of the main gun on Russian MBTs are there to do the same. There are also hard kill weapons such as the Stingray (a Bradley armed with a laser for use against sensors--very bad for eyes--available but not used in Iraq) and similar Russian systems. The reason that US optics and goggles are orange flashed is to protect against in-band laser damage to the user. Old style red lasers, used in all innocence, make dandy blinding weapons, never mind more powerful ones specifically designed to damage or destroy optical and electro-optical systems.

Call the above a primer to the primer on ECM, ECCM, OCM, OCCM,EOCM, EOCCM and more. In CMBS terms, I doubt we'll see jammers per se explicitly modeled. What we may see is some sort of sliding scale of jamming effects against voice and digital communications, longer cycle times to bring in fire support, requests for fire that go unanswered. Loss of lateral and vertical connectivity, to one degree or another, in terms of command, too. I doubt BFC will even attempt analyzing and modeling much more in terms of the electronic/information warfare picture at brigade and up, as it applies to the level of CM play. And the jammers are assets at those levels, as are the sensors they are intended to defeat. I believe TACOPS4, another BFC game, does get into such matters to some degree, but my knowledge of the sim, by a retired USMC major, is tiny.

http://www.battlefront.com/products/tacops4/tacops4.html

On-vehicle systems are another matter entirely, and they will need to be modeled. This includes such things as automatic laser and radar threat warning indicators, obscurant deployment and employment of APS type weaponry.

No idea what might be done with LRAS and similar, which are right up front with the Scouts. There are also various ground based surveillance radars, some on vehicles. The same holds true for counterbattery and countermortar radars, which are exposed to enemy fire and, because of the tactical leverage they provide, are themselves prime targets.

Modern warfare is many orders of magnitude more complex than warfare was in WW II. Hats off to BFC for taking its sim effort way past where CMSF ever was!

Regards,

John Kettler

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That is one of those topics which are ultra classified. Every one is presumed to be working on such a capability, but no one knows what can actually be done.

You already have some real world examples, i.e stuxnet:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuxnet

You also had reports of insurgents hacking into drone video feeds:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/dec/17/skygrabber-american-drones-hacked

In theory, you could hack into an opposing forces computer network and completely paralyse them, i.e. knock out comunications, data links, targeting info, identify friendly forces as enemy, etc.

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John, Sgt Joch,

Thanks for your answers, lots to learn.

Wow.. you were certainly the right man to reply, very full answer am very grateful.

From some of the video/ streaming from Chris looks like they have modelled this stuff as you recommend.

Thanks again,

All the best,

Kip.

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This ECM stuff should be very interesting. I assume its all off map? Be kinda interesting if there was something like a mobile ECM vechicle that if you located and destroyed the electronic fog covering your forces would go away.

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There are reports out of Ukraine that Ukrainian drone flights have been grounded due to Russian ECM jamming. Here's a picture of a Russian ECM van that the 'separatists' in Ukraine just happened to find recently (wink/nod).

B16DI5TIIAAZBsg_zps6bb656f9.jpg~original

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kipanderson,

You're most welcome. I note I completely forgot to say the same sorts of things also apply when it come to GPS/GLONASS/BeiDou and the still aborning Galileo systems. Since all of these systems are emitters, they can be shut off at will, wreaking havoc on systems using them. In turn, this opens up other possibilities.

GPS jamming is quite real, has been used operationally and may be presumed to have triggered a US CM response. Here's what GPS jamming did a few years ago.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/aug/23/north-korean-jamming-gps-shows-systems-weakness/?page=all

MikeyD,

This may well be the single best crash course on Russian jammers. Link is to the phenomenal AusAirPower site. From a quick look, the "found" jammer appears to be of the SPN-30 family, which designed to defeat aerial recon radars looking for ground targets and TFTA (Terrain Following/Terrain Avoidance) radar. It therefore would appear to have no direct relevance to drone control, which operates on radio frequencies (see chart in article--MHz), rather than high radar frequencies (GHz). X-Band is 6.2-10.9 GHz (US freq designation system).

http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-REB-Systems.html

What it would be useful against, though, would be the SLAR (Sidelooking Airborne Radar) on Ukrainian SU-24MR/FENCER E recon aircraft and against TFTA on regular SU-24M/FENCER D.

This is a great link on the status of the Ukrainian Air Force.

http://airheadsfly.com/2014/03/01/overview-air-forces-ukraine/

Regards,

John Kettler

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The ECM stuff could really put a kink into combat. In SF you fire a Javelin and a tank fries. Sounds like that may not always be the case and in the case of tank vs tank it may get interesting.

If you have Steel Beasts Pro try shooting at a tank using the laser range finder and then try it using the back up sights.

For the life of me I can't hit jack with the back up sights especially if the target is moving. I'm sure if I spent hours practicing I could get the hang of it. I just wonder how much in real life tank gunners practice using back up sights and how good they would be.

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javelin would be much less effective and dominant.. combination of jamming, EMP weapons, IR and thermal reduction camouflage (nakidka) ... IR and thermal blocking smoke.... missile detection systems (radar on tank detects missile and swing the turret in direction of missile launch, on T-90A and T-72B3) plus accurate, fast reacting and deadly precision artillery ... and historically russian pre-assault recon (even without drones) has always been good so it's a whole new ball game..

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John,

Crikey... GPS too.. this is going to be fascinating.. really will be.

Thanks... very grateful.

And others too.. lots to learn.

Superb timing by Battlefront. I don’t really mean the detail of Ukraine.. but with Russia and many more coming such as China of course, no longer so poor they cannot compete.. high intensity warfare is back.

From the purely wargames point of view.. “wargames are about the weapons and tactics..” this is interesting stuff.

All the best,

Kip.

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