WASHINGTON — The observable success of electronic warfare in the Russia-Ukraine war is motivating the U.S. Army to get its own in-development jammers deployed as soon as possible, according to an acquisition official.
After decades of arsenal atrophy, the service is again prioritizing electronic warfare, including through its Terrestrial Layer System-Brigade Combat Team and -Echelons Above Brigade initiatives.
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Doug Bush on Aug. 7 told reporters at the Pentagon that both TLS-BCT and -EAB are “on track, and I feel good about them.”
“What we’re seeing in Ukraine is adding to that urgency to get those going,” he said.
The TLS is a combined cyber, electronic warfare and signals intelligence system. The BCT variant is meant for smaller formations; the EAB variant is its beefier sister destined for divisions and corps. Control of the electromagnetic spectrum is critical in modern warfare, as it is used for weapons guidance, allied communication and enemy identification and suppression.
The Army in April tapped Lockheed Martin to fit Stryker combat vehicles, made by General Dynamics, with TLS-BCT technologies and begin planning for work aboard the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, a BAE Systems product. Lockheed in June also bested a rival to continue prototype work on TLS-EAB.
Together, the wins totaled roughly $110 million. Lockheed earned $63.3 billion in defense revenue in 2022, according to Defense News analysis.
“We’ve got the programs underway,” Bush said Monday. “The Army is fundamentally reinvesting and rebuilding our tactical electronic warfare capability after that largely left the force, over the last 20 years.”
The U.S. last year committed to sending electronic warfare gear to Ukraine as part of one of many assistance packages. A senior defense official later confirmed a “small number” of Ukrainian soldiers were training with jamming kit. Electronic warfare is proving useful in countering drone attacks, according to Bush.
“For the very small systems, electronic warfare is proving highly effective in Ukraine against those, on both sides,” he said. “We should learn from that.”
Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.