Networking will play a large role in defeating enemy electronic warfare efforts during future conflicts, U.S. Air Force officials said.
“One of the counters to some of the adversary electronic warfare capability is that network integration,” said Lt. Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, the service’s deputy chief for operations, plans and requirements, during an Air Force Association-sponsored breakfast on Feb. 28.
Hours later, Air Force Chief Gen. Norton Schwartz echoed those comments during his testimony before the U.S. Congress.
A data-link network allows aircraft and other systems to cross-check their information and allows war fighters to filter out bad information being transmitted by hostile electronic warfare systems, both generals said. Even active electronically scanned array radars can be attacked, but it takes a dedicated effort to jam those systems, Carlisle said. A combination of sensor fusion and networking could overcome such attacks however, he said.
Such networks could also help defeat digital radio frequency memory jammers that are proliferating around the world, Carlisle said.
In the future, the Air Force hopes to develop the Advanced Tactical Data-link, possibly in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, Carlisle said. Eventually, when the next-generation link emerges, it should solve the problem of off-loading data from fifth-generation fighters such as the F-22 and F-35, but it is still a work in progress.