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Electronic Warfare technology trends and Market

All modern forces depend on unimpeded access to, and use of, the EM spectrum in conducting military operations. Therefore, there is a requirement to gain and maintain an advantage in the electromagnetic spectrum by countering adversary’s systems and protecting one’s own systems. Adversary can disrupt and degrade the navigation systems on precision guided munitions (PGMs) and cause missiles to go off course, as well as suppress a country’s air defense systems through jamming.

 

The advancement of Sensors, Communications and Radars have given rise to Electronic Warfare, which encompasses, in all battle phases, military actions involving the use of EM energy to determine, exploit, reduce or prevent hostile use of EM spectrum and the actions, which retain friendly use of the EM spectrum.

 

Understanding and managing, and if necessary, controlling and denying the electromagnetic spectrum are as critical for national defense as an army, navy, air, or space force.  Thus the EM spectrum can no longer be viewed as an enabler, but rather as a primary warfighting domain, on par with land, sea, air and space operations. This is leading to race among all Militaries to introduce innovations in sensors and communications, countermeasures, and counter-countermeasures in an attempt to gain an advantage over their enemies.

 

Electronic warfare provide  means to counter adversary’s systems  while protecting one’s own systems through  Electronic Attack (EA), Electronic Protection (EP) and Electronic Support (ES). EA is the electronic countermeasure which includes jamming and deception of enemy radars, electro-optic and communication systems. It also includes use of anti-radiation missiles (ARM), electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and directed energy weapons (DEW). Electronic protection (EP) is the ECCM including such measures as emission control (EMCON), communication security (COMSEC) and electromagnetic hardening. Electronic support (ES) includes all actions taken for the purpose of real-time threat reorganization in support of immediate decisions involving EA, EP, weapon avoidance, targeting or other tactical employment of forces e.g. Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) and Communication Intelligence (COMINT).

 

Electronic warfare has evolved significantly over the past few decades and can be defined as any action that involves the use of electromagnetic or directed energy to counter an enemy attack. Electronic warfare includes electronic attack, electronic protection, and electronic support.

 

EW systems are also continuously evolving to counter the proliferation of spread spectrum based communication systems, multimode, and Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) radars, smart weapons and missiles in warfare,  increased surveillance through Aerostats, AEW&C aircrafts, unmanned air vehicles (UAV) and satellite based communication and radar.

 

The other drivers are Network Centric Warfare, employment of millimeter wave and optical wave lengths, detection and sorting of signals in a very dense EM environment and stealth technologies. The success of Electronic warfare missions depends on many technologies like, high sensitivity digital receivers, signal analyzers & feature extraction techniques, highly sensitive, high scan rate acquisition and monitoring receivers and Automatic signal analysis and classification.

 

EW systems shall be required to have capability to counter DSSS, FFHSS and Multimode LPI radars. The indigenously EW systems shall be deployed on all classes of UAVs and Aerostats, Ship, Submarine, Aircraft and Ground Mobile Vehicles. The ELINT payload on LEO satellite shall also become functional. There is further requirement of deployment of ELINT payloads on geosynchronous satellites. The EW systems to counterr MMW communications and Optronic Systems shall also be required. The Network Centric operations shall require integration of EW systems

 

Many technologies have been instrumental in these developments in areas of radars, communications and electronic warfare. The analog beamforming has been replaced by digital beamforming which has improved the dynamic-range of system, interference rejection and enabled super-resolution techniques. Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna technology is established now and the T/R modules are  serving  as building blocks for scalable AESAs. SDR radio requirements as well as future requirement of convergence of communication & EW function in a single hardware with software reconfigurability have generated the requirement of Re-configurable multi band and multi-mode RF front ends.

 

The success of future Electronic warfare missions shall require development of many technologies like, fast and powerful ESM processors to handle and track multimode radars in a millions of pulses per second dense scenario, very high sensitivity channelized digital receivers to detect intercept (LPI) radars, phase interferometry DF, amplitude comparison DF and TDOA techniques, Multi sensor data fusion. Data Mining for exploration and analysis on large amounts of data in order to discover patterns of interest will depend on enabling technologies like Machine Learning, Support Vector Machines (SVM), Artificial Neural Networks (ANN),  Self Organising Neural Networks (SONNs) or Unsupervised Neural Networks, Fuzzy  neural networks.

 

The advancement in nanoelectronics shall influence the design of future Communications and EW receivers. A single CNT can perform all functions like antennas, tuners, demodulators, and amplifiers making a complete functional receiver circuit. The nano receiver of the future could have a universal RF processor in which different radio band configurations are set from a vast grid of nano receiver cells, each dedicated for a certain single frequency slot of the radio spectrum. When a different receiver is required, the system is reconfigured – or reprogrammed – accordingly.

EW systems for THz communications, EW for smart weapons and missiles, Cognitive EW systems with Artificial Intelligence & Neural Network based Digital Receiver needs to be developed. The enabling technologies shall be pattern recognition techniques for de-interleaving, data mining & machine learning (SVM, ANN), Digital Rx (), Solar Power based Digital Receiver , Eco- Friendly Digital Rx, Electro-Magnetic Pollution less Digital Receiver

 

 

Electronic Warfare market

The Global Unmanned Electronic Warfare Market is projected to grow from an estimated USD 685 million in 2021 to USD 847 million by 2026, at a CAGR of 4.3% in terms of value during the forecasted period. The major growth drivers for this market include rising global concerns, increasing technologies supporting the vehicle dynamics to integrate the electrification in military vehicles, and focus on increasing the fleet size.

RF-based Electronic Warfare Support (EWS) systems such as RWRs (Radar Warning Receivers), DF/COMINT (Direction Finding and Communications Intelligence) and ESM/ELINT (Electronic Support Measures and Electronic Signals Intelligence) will dominate the market for EWS system spending, accounting for 73% of the total market in 2024.

 

Spending on EWS systems installed on airborne platforms will account for 36% through 2024. Developing and maintaining land-based EWS capabilities will represent the second largest end market. Electronic Warfare Support (EWS) systems include both RF (radio frequency) -based and EO-IR (electro-optical and infra-red) and laser-based TWRs (Threat Warning Receivers) which will account for the third largest market, followed by DF/COMINT systems with spending on ESM/ELINT systems accounting for the largest market. Collectively, these sectors will account for account for 93% of total spending on EWS through 2024.

 

“A renewed emphasis on developing and maintaining conventional EWS capabilities to enable operations in a congested and contested spectrum environment will drive spending and also underpin demand for new systems and upgrading existing capabilities,” notes Asif Anwar, Director at Strategy Analytics. “In the area of RF-based EWS, this will be underpinned by an emphasis on direct and fast digital synthesis of the RF signals across the full breadth of the frequency spectrum driving demand for wideband solid state RF component technologies coupled with higher performing wider bandwidth digital receivers. The associated market for semiconductor components will approach $232 million in 2024.”

 

Electronic warfare is now among the crucial requirements of the defense and intelligence agencies across countries. Hence, military and intelligence agencies are the key end users, showcasing greater demand for electronic warfare equipment. Driving demand for EW equipment will be rapid advances in EW enabling technologies, and a growing need for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in global militaries.

 

Some industry experts have noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has not affected the demand for electronic warfare, especially for military end use. Companies such as Lockheed Martin Corporation (US), Northrop Grumman Corporation (US), Elbit Systems Ltd. (Israel), and L3Harris Technologies (US) received contracts for the supply of electronic warfare to the armed forces of various nations in the first half of 2020, showcasing continuous demand during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

Furthermore, widespread use of electronic and associated equipment along with weapon systems has led to the development of electronic warfare systems, as they are needed to detect and counter these weapons. Technological proliferation, advancements in the field of electronics, and increasing adoption of electro-optic, infrared and visual techniques such as laser are expected to favorably impact electronic warfare market growth over the next few years.

 

Driver: Increasing procurement of electronic warfare systems due to growing transnational and regional instability

The increasing frequency of bilateral militarized conflicts among countries is progressing at a rapid pace, which has led to the growing need for defense forces of countries to strengthen their security measures. New weapons and combat systems are being developed to cater to warfare needs. The advent of digital battlefields has propelled the incorporation of electronic warfare technology in all defense systems used during combat missions. These systems have resulted in a change in the procurement priorities of nations to keep pace with emerging warfare needs.

 

For instance, political instability and terrorism in Iraq and Syria in the Middle East have led to armed conflicts since 2014, with high-end weapon systems being increasingly used by various terrorist organizations. Countries in this region are increasing their defense expenditure to include new electronic warfare systems in order to safeguard their borders against these weapons. Countries that have increased their spending on radar and air defense systems in this region include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar. Saudi Arabia, for instance, has plans to buy the S-400 air defense systems from Russia in the future.

 

Over 2018-2019, China and Pakistan made several intrusions into India, thereby resulting in conflict between these countries. In October 2019, Turkish government officials announced the procurement of S-400 air defense systems from Russia. Rising disputes in the South China Sea between China and its neighboring countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, and the Philippines, have also led to a defense budget increase by these countries. The tensions between Russia and NATO has led to an increase in expenditure on air defense systems by countries such as Romania, Poland, and Ukraine. Russia is also planning to modernize and enhance its military and electronic warfare capabilities. Such defense capability modernization plans drive the market for electronic warfare.

 

Increasing spending on the modernization of armed forces is driving the growth of the defense applications

With increasing national security threats, the defense organizations of different countries are introducing various programs to maintain and enhance their electronic warfare. For instance, EW Capabilities Enhancement Act has been introduced in the US, which permits the use of appropriations authorized for electromagnetic spectrum warfare systems and development of electromagnetic warfare systems and electronic warfare capabilities. Such acts and programs are the trends driving the EW market growth.

 

Additionally, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) also is working on the Adaptive Radar Countermeasures (ARC) program, which aims to develop electronic warfare capability to combat hostile adaptive radar systems. More recently, the U.S. has initiated a electronic warfare planning and management tool that permits army personnel to synchronize and integrate a host of electronic warfare signals. This tool is expected to be developed and operational by 2022.

 

Military expenditures of countries in the Middle East and Asia remain unaffected despite economic crises. The US and European countries have reduced their military spending over the years. However, Russia has increased its military spending, thereby becoming the third-largest military-spending nation in the world, with plans to modernize its military equipment.

 

China is a major driving force in Asia; its strong economic stability and its military spending make it the second-largest defense spender worldwide. With the assertiveness of China to enhance its defense capabilities, neighboring countries such as India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan are also compelled to increase their military spending.

 

According to SIPRI, the global military expenditure was estimated at USD 1,971 billion in 2019, which was 3.6% higher compared to 2018 and 7.2% higher compared to 2010. This expenditure increased by 5.0% in Europe, by 4.8% in Asia and Oceania, by 4.7% in the Americas, and by 1.7% in Africa. However, military spending in the Middle East decreased by 7.5%. In 2019, the US, China, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia accounted for 62% of global military spending.

 

Challenges: High cost of deployment

The challenges that the market faces is that electronic warfare systems need highly sophisticated sensors and complex data environments. There is obsolescence due to long deployment and test cycles. There is a variety of high-performance hardware and software that generate large amounts of data in all kinds of formats, thus making it difficult to process and exchange the data.

 

The increasing importance of electronic warfare in tactical and strategic roles in the modern warfare environment has propelled the need for new, effective, and affordable electronic warfare systems. These systems use electromagnetic radiations to ensure the secure transmission of data. Electronic warfare systems encompass multiple capabilities such as electronic attack, electronic protection, and electronic support.

 

These systems are required to perform various essential functions in diverse threat environments. They have to identify all emitters in an area of interest using SIGINT techniques to determine their geographic locations or ranges of mobility, characterize their signals, and determine the strategy of enemy conflict.

 

Achieving the performance levels expected for the next-generation electronic warfare systems becomes a formidable task due to the complexity of electronic warfare systems. These systems require complex designs to serve in high-magnitude signal environments. One of the key challenges faced by manufacturers of electronic warfare systems is modifying and programming these systems. Advanced EW technologies are required to operate in a crowded EM environment, and a cost-effective open system approach will help achieve challenging design goals. The electronic warfare systems market is expected to be cost-dependent due to the requirement of heavy R&D investments, which serves as a challenge for manufacturers

 

Technology trends

Digital Radio Frequency Memory Jammers have become the core of jamming electronic systems. The device comes with a storage method in which the signal from the radar is stored and then retransmitted to the threat. Radar jamming is the type of electronic countermeasures, which reduces the enemy radar systems. Generally, this is done by the emission of radio signals.

 

Some of the emerging and future Technology areas in Electronic Warfare include:  broad-band multifunctional jamming system, full spectrum electronic warfare, AESA-based (actively electronically steered array) jamming system with high power and wideband gallium-nitride (GaN) technology;  Adaptive and responsive jamming; Cognitive EW, Network Centric EW, Precision electronic attack; Counter-space capabilities (kinetic and non-kinetic); Metamaterials for electromagnetic and auditory cloaking;  autonomous decoys; and Quantum encryption techniques (which can sense if the communications link is being intercepted)

 

Military architectures are  transitioning of from federated systems to wideband multifunction systems through which Radar, EW and communication will be met using single multi band multi-mode re-configurable hardware that integrate radar, electronic warfare (EW), and communications through a common aperture. Convergence will become mandatory while performing in an increasingly dense spectral environment and on increasingly smaller aerial/space/underwater platforms which require reduce payloads on platforms without compromising functional requirements.

 

requirement of EW systems for interception and direction finding to counter hybrid SS systems (DSSS & FH) with 100% POI. Hybrid Spread Spectrum (DSSS & FHSS) Jammers are expected to employ BBN (broadband noise), PBN (partial band noise), MT (multi tone), and NBN (narrowband noise) follower methodologies. The extensive employment of MIMO Radar and Communications and UWB systems shall require EW systems to counter them. UWB signals have significant processing gain so it would difficult to jam them with any kind of reasonable power in the jammer. Therefore different approaches like attacking the inherent nonlinearities in the UWB receiver need to be evolved. There shall be increased deployment of GEO Satellite based EW. The wide deployment of THz communications and radars shall require EW systems with such higher frequency range.

 

The mature cognitive technologies shall be utilized in smart weapons and missiles. The EW systems shall also employ Cognitive technologies to counter these systems. The enabling technologies are digital receivers, Artificial Intelligence & Neural Network technologies. The energy security shall mandate that EW receivers shall utilize alternative eco- friendly sources including solar power.

 

The future will see multispectral, multimode and multifunction capability, said Chris Rappa, product line director for RF, EW and advanced electronics with BAE Systems’ FAST Labs research and development organization. Active electronically scanned arrays (AESAs) are already multimode but over a narrow band, he said. BAE aims to build large or small totally digital arrays, where the electronics behind every element in the array are digital and the array can be controlled in every aspect at the element level.

 

Ten years from now Rappa expects to see very large, all-digital, precisely controlled arrays that are multifunction, multimode and capable of learning on the fly to be cooperative or disruptive, whenever they need to be. He expects they’ll be highly flexible — able to do signals intelligence, electronic support measures (ESM), electronic attack (EA), radar, positioning, navigation and timing (PNT), and communications, all from one array and one box, and all cognitively and adaptively controlled.

 

Several types of research have been undertaken on electronic warfare technologies such as quantum-based radars technology and their use for surveillance. According to an article published by China Daily in September 2018, quantum radars transmit subatomic particles, instead of radio waves, when searching for targets. They are not affected by radar-absorbent materials and low-signature designs. Traditional radar-jamming tactics cannot deceive these radars and, hence, can be adopted for missile defense and space exploration in the future.

 

Rising deployment of electronic warfare capabilities on unmanned platforms

Unmanned systems have become an integral part of military forces worldwide. Deploying electronic warfare systems on unmanned platforms facilitates the transmission of surveillance and imagery data. The integration of unmanned systems with communication jammers or electronic surveillance equipment assist in various unmanned EW missions. Additionally, unmanned EW aircraft require limited personnel and thus reduce the risk of loss of human lives. Owing to these benefits, countries such as the US, India, and China have plans to procure and deploy more UAVs in their defense forces.

Growing demand for into identification friend or foe (IFF) systems, radar warning receivers, laser warning systems, IR missile warning systems, direction finders, directed energy weapon systems due to their high demand for countermeasure applications are projected to increase the growth of the unmanned electronic warfare market.

In February 2017, Raytheon, along with US Air Force, upgraded the Miniature Air Launched Decoy-Jammer (MALD-J), a miniature UAV with anti-jam capabilities. The upgrade, designated as GPS Aided Inertial Navigation System (GAINS II), includes an enhanced multi-element GPS controlled antenna assembly. This new system improves MALD-J navigation performance in a GPS jamming environment.

The unmanned electronic warfare market includes major players such as Lockheed Martin Corporation (US), Northrop Grumman Corporation (US), Saab AB (Sweden), L3Harris Technologies, Inc. (US), Leonardo SPA (Italy), BAE Systems (UK), Aselsan AS (Turkey), and Textron Systems (US).

 

Market Segmentation

In terms of capability, the market is segregated into electronic warfare support, protection, and attack. The electronic support segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. Intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance (ISR) has improved the situational awareness capabilities of militaries and subsequently enhanced their decision-making process. The increased focus on situational awareness capabilities from defence sector is expected to support the growth of electronic warfare support segment in the upcoming years.

Based on product, the electronic warfare market has been segmented into electronic warfare equipment and electronic warfare operational support. The electronic warfare equipment segment is expected to grow at a higher CAGR owing to the increasing procurement of electronic warfare equipment for the upgradation of various platforms such as naval vessel, land vehicle and aircraft due to benefits such as advance electronic protection, electronic attack and electronic support applications..

 

Based on operations, Fully Autonomous segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The requirement of autonomous vehicles that help in reducing human loss and increasing capabilities, and investments in R&D towards these systems are helping the growth of the market for fully autonomous Unmanned electronic warfare systems.

 

Geographical Analysis

The global market for electronic warfare is estimated to rise significantly during the assessment period. On the grounds of the region, the worldwide market can be distinguished into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and South America.

 

The North America market is projected to contribute the largest share from 2020 to 2025 in the electronic warfare market. The US and Canada are key countries considered for market analysis in the North American region. This region is expected to lead the market from 2020 to 2025, owing to increased investments in electronic warfare technologies by countries in this region.

 

North America procured the largest market in 2020. The US is estimated to make the most valuable contribution. The US Department of defense makes substantial development in the electronic warfare systems. Europe is projected to acquire the second biggest market in the global electronic warfare market. Among all, Germany, the UK, France, and Russia are making the most substantial contribution due to the massive investments in the procurement and development of electronic warfare systems.

 

In addition, the strong presence of established players in the region is further estimated to a crucial role in strengthening the regional market. Defense forces of countries in the North American region are involved in the development of technologically advanced EW systems. Well-established and prominent manufacturers of electronic warfare systems in this region include Lockheed Martin (US), Northrop Grumman (US), L3Harris Technologies, Inc. (US), and Raytheon (US).

 

On the other hand, the APAC zone is anticipated to grow exponentially during the forecast period. The increased investment in the defense sector is likely to propel the regional market. The MEA region is predicted to grow during the assessment period. However, the region is likely to take the last position.

 

Industry

In November 2015, Lockheed Martin Corporation was awarded a USD 51 million contract for AN/ALQ-217 Electronic Support Measure (ESM) systems from Northrop Grumman for the US Navy’s E-2D aircraft program. In September 2019, Lockheed Martin Corporation received a contract worth USD 281 million from the US Army to develop the Sentinel A4 system. This is a high-performance air and missile defense radar that provides additional capability against aerial threats.

 

Equipment such as the Turkish KORAL or the Krasukha-4 ground-based jammer are able to generate very high power output over a broadband of frequencies, which is effective at distances up to 300km, which is a big jump from the previous generation of jammers which had limited ranges and effectiveness while in broadband jamming mode.

 

One of the key technologies resulting in the growth of the EW market is the introduction of the next generation jammer. The new technology has been built with a combination of high powered, agile beam-jamming techniques, and cutting-edge solid-state electronics. The goal of the up-gradation of EW systems with this new technology is to present a platform for airborne electronic attacks that could adapt to the latest EW requirements, including suppression of enemy air defense, stand-off jamming, non-traditional electronic attack, self-protect/time critical strike support, and continuous capability enhancements.

 

The NGJ has been developed by The Raytheon Company to replace the US Navy’s EA-18G’s legacy ALQ-99 tactical jamming pod. The substandard reliability of the ALQ-99 and frequent failures of the Built-in-Test (BIT) have caused the crew to fly missions with undetected faults. The ALQ-99 also interferes with radars of aircraft, thereby reducing their top speed and imposing a high workload on the crew. To overcome these shortcomings, the NGJ has been introduced. It is intended to provide enhanced airborne EA capabilities to disrupt and degrade enemy air defense and ground communication systems. The system indicates a step change from ALQ-99 regarding its software-based digital architecture and use of high power active electronically-scanned arrays based on the gallium nitride technology. This will produce the most reliable, dependable, and affordable systems to deny, degrade, and disrupt threats while protecting the US and the coalition forces.

 

Fig2EW

The Electronic Warfare market includes major players such as BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Technologies , Lockheed Martin, Thales Group, L3Harris Technologies, Israel Aerospace Industries, and SAAB.

 

These players have spread their business across various countries includes North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. COVID-19 has affected the Electronic Warfare market growth to some extent, and this varies from country to country. Industry experts believe that the pandemic has not affected the demand for Electronic Warfare in defense applications.

About Rajesh Uppal

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