EW defense moves closer to reality

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is developing technologies to counter adaptive enemy radars in combat.

Reliable radar jamming and resistance to hostile electronic warfare (EW) will soon be standard, thanks to a program funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

 DARPA has awarded BAE Systems a $13.3 million contract modification for Phase 3 of the Adaptive Radar Countermeasures (ARC) project, which develops technologies that enable airborne EW systems to counter new, unknown and adaptive radars in real time in the field.

 Current EW systems struggle because they rely on a database of known threats with predefined countermeasures. In anti-access/area-denial environments, that database is not available. It’s an urgent problem as Russia, whose EW capabilities are impressive, continues to exploit these weaknesses.

Future EW systems will have to isolate unknown radar signals in dense electromagnetic environments and then rapidly generate effective countermeasures. Advanced signal processing, intelligent algorithms and machine learning techniques are the cognitive EW technologies developed for the ARC program.

 Phase 3 work includes the planned completion of algorithm development, advanced readiness testing and transitioning the ARC technologies to critical airborne warfare platforms, such as the F-35.

“In Phase 2, we successfully demonstrated the ability to characterize and adaptively counter advanced threats in a closed-loop test environment,” said Louis Trebaol, ARC program manager at BAE Systems. “We will now continue to mature the technology and test it against the most advanced radars in the U.S. inventory in order to successfully transition this important technology to the warfighter.”

This newest contract bumps up the cumulative value of BAE Systems’ ARC contract to $35.5 million. Work will be performed at the company’s facilities in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.