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The Synergy of Power: Integrated Cyber and Electronic Warfare Technologies


In the rapidly evolving landscape of modern warfare, the convergence of cyber and electronic warfare technologies has emerged as a force multiplier, reshaping the dynamics of conflicts and defense strategies. The integration of these two domains creates a formidable synergy, providing nations with unprecedented capabilities to both defend against and launch sophisticated cyber and electronic attacks. This article delves into the significance of integrated cyber and electronic warfare technologies, exploring their applications, challenges, and the transformative impact on military operations.

Electronic Warfare

Electronic warfare  employs directed radiofrequency energy – ranging from radio signals through radar, up to lasers and beyond – to manipulate, control, or even destroy an adversary’s ability to effectively use the electromagnetic spectrum. Electronic warfare uses the spectrum to gain and maintain military access to the spectrum. Electronic warfare (EW) is any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack of an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly unimpeded access to, the EM spectrum. EW can be applied from air, sea, land, and space by manned and unmanned systems, and can target humans, communications, radar, or other assets.

Cyber Warfare

Over the past two decades, cyberspace operations have become an important element in military operations. Cyber warfare involves the actions by a nation-state or international organization to attack and attempt to damage another nation’s computers or information networks through, for example, computer viruses or denial-of-service attacks. The military has already designated cyberspace as the fifth domain of war – along with the four physical domains of air, land, sea and space – and it’s mulling making the electromagnetic spectrum the sixth domain. Cyberspace operations are the employment of cyberspace capabilities where the primary purpose is to achieve objectives in or through cyberspace. CO are categorized into three functions including offensive cyberspace operations (OCO), defensive cyberspace operations (DCO), and Department of Defense information network operations.

Understanding Integrated Cyber and Electronic Warfare:

The Cyber and Electromagnetic Environment (CEME) pervades all aspects of military operations, across all domains, meaning that to exploit it to the best advantage we must consider an integrated approach. Traditionally Cyber and electronic warfare were distinct entities with separate organization and doctrine.

Integrated Cyber and Electronic Warfare (ICEW) refers to the seamless amalgamation of cyber warfare, focused on the digital realm, and electronic warfare, targeting the electromagnetic spectrum. Together, they form a comprehensive approach to gaining superiority in the information domain. While cyber warfare involves the exploitation and manipulation of digital systems, electronic warfare focuses on the control and disruption of communication and radar systems.

Imagine a tank not just firing shells, but launching salvos of malware, crippling enemy communications and weapon systems. Picture drones cloaked in digital camouflage, invisible to enemy radars, while hacking into critical infrastructure from miles away. This is the reality C-EW is forging, a reality where the battlefield extends beyond the physical terrain, encompassing the invisible wires of the digital world.

With billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to be in operation by 2025, the IoT will truly make cyberspace a ubiquitous and indispensable part of the nation’s infrastructure.  The widespread use of IoT in military domain would also give rise to enormous vulnerabilities which the commercial hackers, terrorists and our adversaries can exploit. IoT devices present new kinds of targets, as well as new weapons to threaten economic and physical security. They will offer new opportunities for identity theft, disruption, and other malicious activities affecting the people, infrastructures and economy. Military IoT networks will also need to deal with multiple threats from adversaries including physical attacks on infrastructure, direct energy attacks, jamming of radiofrequency channels, attacks on power sources for IoT devices, electronic eavesdropping and malware.

Applications and Capabilities:

Electronic warfare in the cyber domain involves the strategic utilization of electromagnetic spectrum and electronics techniques to exploit, deceive or protect against adversaries’ computer systems, networks and electronic infrastructure. It encompasses both offensive and defensive operations, all with the goal of gaining an advantage in the complex cyberspace environment.

One cannot exaggerate the significance of electronic warfare in the cyber world. By disrupting opponent networks, intercepting conversations and gaining access to important intelligence, it enables governments to establish information superiority.

Advanced Situational Awareness:

ICEW technologies enhance situational awareness by combining cyber intelligence with electronic surveillance. This integrated approach provides a comprehensive view of the battlefield, allowing for more informed decision-making.

Covert operations: Electronic warfare activities may be carried out secretively in the cyberspace because of its anonymous nature. This makes it an appealing option for states and organizations seeking to influence or disrupt adversaries without direct attribution.

Coordinated Attacks and Defense:

ICEW enables synchronized offensive and defensive operations. Cyber-attacks can be coupled with electronic jamming or deception, creating a multi-dimensional assault that overwhelms adversaries.

Signal Denial and Deception:

By disrupting enemy communication systems and deceiving their sensors, ICEW technologies offer the ability to control the electromagnetic spectrum. This can lead to confusion among adversaries, reducing their effectiveness in responding to threats.

Critical Infrastructure Protection:

ICEW plays a crucial role in safeguarding critical infrastructure, such as power grids, communication networks, and financial systems, from cyber threats and electronic interference.

Cyber electronic warfare technology

The term “electronic warfare” refers to the use of various forms of electromagnetic spectrum transmissions such as radar, infrared or radio for sensing, defense and communication. Such warfare can also interfere with, deny and weaken these signals’ use to the enemy.

  • Spoofing: To trick or influence adversarial systems, spoofers create false digital identities, signals or conversations. Spoofing methods can be used in the cyber realm to fool the sensors of an adversary, thwart their network defenses or change the way they perceive the digital world around them.
  • Signals intelligence (SIGINT): The SIGINT process includes gathering, analyzing and deciphering environmental electronic signals. Intercepting and analyzing enemy communications, finding holes in their network defenses and learning about their cyber capabilities are all possible through the employment of SIGINT techniques in the cyber realm.
  • Electronic signal jamming: Interfering with or preventing the transmission of electromagnetic signals is known as “electronic signal jamming” in the cyber realm. This disruption impedes an adversary’s communication channels and hampers their ability to coordinate actions or gather intelligence. When an enemy’s radar is being electronically jammed, jammers send out a barrage of interference signals that overwhelm the radar’s receiver with highly concentrated energy signals.

Adversarial Tactics:

Adversaries are quick to recognize the interdependencies between electronic warfare and cyberspace operations. Examples like the Russian Orlan-10 UAV demonstrate the integration of electronic warfare tactics, inserting propaganda directly into communication channels by impersonating cell towers and hijacking communications.  The convergence of EW and cyber capabilities poses a formidable challenge, requiring a unified and integrated response. This and other platforms can easily be modified to attack IoT devices with similar techniques and results.

Challenges and Considerations:

Despite the technological capabilities, challenges persist in converging electronic warfare and cyberspace operations. Operational and policy differences, along with traditional hardware-centric approaches, hinder seamless integration.

Complexity of Integration:

Integrating cyber and electronic warfare capabilities requires sophisticated technologies and extensive coordination. Ensuring seamless communication between these domains poses a significant challenge.

Legal and Ethical Concerns:

The dual-use nature of ICEW technologies raises legal and ethical questions regarding their deployment. Striking a balance between offensive capabilities and adherence to international laws becomes crucial.

Adaptability to Emerging Threats:

The rapidly evolving nature of cyber threats requires ICEW systems to be highly adaptable. Continuous innovation is essential to stay ahead of emerging threats and vulnerabilities.

Training and Skill Development:

Operating ICEW technologies demands a highly skilled workforce. Adequate training programs and skill development initiatives are essential to harness the full potential of these integrated capabilities.

While the need for convergence of cyberspace operations and electronic warfare is recognized within the Department of Defense (DoD), differences between how these two capabilities are trained, resourced, organized and employed combined with the significant functional level differences between the two have hindered efforts to converge their capabilities.

Global Initiatives:

International efforts, as exemplified by South Korea’s LIG Nex1 consortium, highlight the global significance of cyber electronic warfare. The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) will lead the development of cyber neutralization precision strike technology, and Korea University is responsible for the development of cyber target penetration and remote neutralization technology. “We will apply the technology developed through this project to core technologies for cyber electronic warfare to the latest electronic warfare weapon system.”

The development of “soft-kill” operations to neutralize North Korean missiles showcases the increasing emphasis on cyber warfare technologies.

Lockheed Martin’s Spectrum Convergence:

Lockheed Martin’s “Spectrum Convergence” marks a significant advancement, integrating signals intelligence, cyber techniques, electronic warfare (EW), and information operations (IO). This convergence enhances the U.S. military’s ability to sense, identify, and neutralize threats in the electromagnetic spectrum, offering a strategic advantage in modern warfare across air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace. Cyber warfare, encompassing tactics like distributed denial of service attacks and malware intrusions, plays a crucial role in this integrated approach, providing offensive and defensive capabilities and aiding intelligence gathering.

One notable product of Lockheed Martin’s Spectrum Convergence unit is “Silent CROW,” an open architecture system designed for diverse platforms, including unmanned aerial systems and fighter jets. Silent CROW empowers U.S. soldiers to disrupt, deny, degrade, deceive, and destroy adversaries’ electronic systems through electronic support, electronic attack, and cyber techniques. The system’s adaptability, scalability, and affordability make it a compelling choice, with applications in gathering intelligence on electromagnetic spectrum activity, jamming communications, and defending against adversary actions.

In parallel, information operations (IO) have become pivotal in shaping the narrative and gaining a competitive advantage. Lockheed Martin emphasizes the interconnectedness of cyber, EW, signals intelligence (SIGINT), and IO, fostering collaboration and interoperability on the battlefield. The company invests in research and development, incorporating expertise in the Internet of Things, machine learning, and wireless protocols to create products that leverage big data, machine-to-machine communications, and AI-powered algorithms for real-time threat identification.

Lockheed Martin’s commitment to an open systems, open architecture approach, complying with standards like the Sensor Open System Architecture and C4ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards, reflects the evolving landscape. The shift towards software-driven, intelligent, and customizable weapons, coupled with agile development models, responds to the demand for flexibility and cooperation in military technology. The emphasis on cross-sector collaboration and adherence to open standards aligns with the evolving expectations of military branches in the U.S. and Great Britain.

On a parallel front, BAE Systems highlights the significance of Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) Integration in securing and sustaining Information Advantage. CEMA Integration involves the intersection of Cyber, EW, and Security, emphasizing functions such as access and exploit, protect, collect and manipulate, integrated with platforms and people. The interconnectedness of cyber, EW, and security components underscores the need for a holistic approach to capability development, embracing open architectures and standards to remain competitive in the evolving landscape.

BAE Systems’ CEMA Integration:

BAE Systems addresses the challenges of convergence through Cyber Electromagnetic Activity (CEMA) Integration, focusing on the intersection of Cyber, EW, and Security. This approach emphasizes the need for an integrated system that considers access, exploit, protect, collect, and manipulate functions, along with seamless integration with platforms and personnel.

BAE Systems has introduced the MATRICs (Microwave Array Technology for Reconfigurable Integrated Circuits) chip to meet the demand for radio systems that can swiftly adapt to changing environments. This innovative chip, designed for communications, electronic warfare, and signal intelligence systems, serves as a versatile solution for engineers, allowing them to create customized radio systems without relying on expensive and time-consuming application-specific chips. Greg Flewelling, a senior principal engineer at BAE Systems, describes MATRICs as a “radio frequency toolbox on a chip” covering a broad range of radio waveforms, making it suitable for systems requiring wide spectrum awareness and adaptability to dynamic signal environments.

MATRICs operates across a wide spectrum of radio signals, offering benefits such as reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP) for systems. The chip’s reduced SWaP makes it particularly well-suited for critical applications, including unmanned aerial platforms and man-portable radios where lightweight and low power are essential. Additionally, MATRICs facilitates the rapid development of prototypes and working systems, enabling faster field deployment and accelerating the delivery of new technology.

This chip’s development was supported by funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of its Adaptive RF Technology program. The program focuses on advancing hardware for radios capable of reconfiguring themselves under various environmental and operating conditions. MATRICs aligns with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Third Offset Strategy, emphasizing agile systems that efficiently address real-time changes and the rapid fielding of new technology by modifying existing systems. MATRICs stands out as a flexible and adaptable solution, embodying the core principles of the DoD’s strategy.


The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) initiative focuses on developing an innovative capability in Low Probability of Detection (LPD)/Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) communications networks within a “zero trust” environment. The objective is to integrate this capability with Electronic Warfare, Information Warfare, and/or Cyber Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) tools, utilizing commercial off-the-shelf technologies (COTS) to seamlessly blend into operational environments.

During the feasibility study, proposers are tasked with exploring various system design options, providing specifications on key system attributes. The platform developed must integrate tools for sensing, detecting, locating, characterizing, and cataloging both unintended and intended signals/emissions from non-alerting sensors. The platform should possess the capability to store data locally on the sensor for later retrieval or rapidly and securely move sensor data to a base location without relying on local cellular networks. Additionally, the platform is required to promptly identify threat-related signals for immediate Electronic Warfare or wireless disruption, safeguarding Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel from potential discovery and countering threats like improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBEIDs).

Furthermore, the platform must demonstrate its versatility by operating as a full-spectrum cyberwarfare weapons platform, offering options for defensive and offensive operations. In this capacity, it should be a rapidly configurable system, compatible with the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK), ensuring secure ATAK traffic. The platform should be attributable or non-attributable, serving as a disposable communications network and cyber weapons platform.

In the subsequent Phase II, the focus will shift to developing, installing, and demonstrating a prototype system deemed the most feasible solution during the Phase I feasibility study. This prototype will be based on a virtual private network/virtual private server (VPN/VPS) certificate-based secure COTS communications system. It is designed for rapid establishment (within 15 minutes or less) to function as an Electronic and Cyber Warfare reconnaissance and surveillance platform. The system must also facilitate rapid teardown (within 15 minutes or less) to significantly reduce overall risk to exposure or compromise after completing electronic or cyber warfare operations.

This system is envisioned for deployment in a broad range of military applications where communication security is paramount, providing early warning against adversary electronic warfare or intelligence threats. Particularly valuable in high-threat areas, the tools incorporated in this system enable emergency communications, emphasizing non-attributable, LPI/LPD communications as an absolute requirement.

Future Implications:

The future battlefield is set to be dominated by information warfare, where nations will vie for control over the digital and electromagnetic domains. ICEW technologies will play a pivotal role in shaping military doctrines, necessitating investments in research, development, and collaboration among nations. The ability to seamlessly integrate cyber and electronic warfare capabilities will define military superiority in the 21st century.

The implications of C-EW are vast, not just for traditional warfare but also for global security and digital sovereignty. Governments and tech companies must work together to develop responsible frameworks for this powerful technology. And individuals must become more aware of their own digital vulnerabilities, adopting safe online practices to protect themselves from potential cyberattacks.


Integrated Cyber and Electronic Warfare technologies represent a paradigm shift in military capabilities, offering a holistic approach to dominating the information domain. As nations navigate the complexities of modern conflicts, the integration of cyber and electronic warfare becomes imperative for maintaining strategic advantage. While challenges exist, the transformative potential of ICEW technologies underscores their significance in the arsenal of 21st-century military forces.







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