The brief for this blog as part of the focus on our technical and strategic services was to write a piece on “The Future of Electronic Warfare Training” as it applied to mission support. In addressing the short-term timeframe, this would likely have resulted in a discussion about the live-virtual-constructive training balance with which many of us recently become familiar, just maybe not under those headings. In Inzpire’s Applied Technology Analysis & Training (ATAT) team we have a passion for understanding the possibilities (and realities) of the application of technology in the operational environment, so I took the liberty of shuffling the words to give the title “Training for the Future of Electronic Warfare”.
Electronic Warfare (EW) is now treated, doctrinally at least, as a partner to Cyber Warfare, under the title of Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA). Regardless of current labelling (it was once part of Information Operations), EW is about the application of technology in the electromagnetic (EM) environment in an operational context. To understand what technologies will be influencing, or even driving, defence over the next 5 – 20 years you can’t go far wrong by reading the UK MOD’s Defence Technology Framework and the NATO Science & Technology Trends 2020-2040. They are very well written and by the end you could come to the conclusion that future conflicts will be fought (or deterred) by genetically modified, neurologically-interfaced personnel overseeing autonomous hypersonic air/ space craft that will detect hidden (to the human eye) targets using sensors based on quantum entanglement and strike them with directed energy weapons. Systems will inevitably be developed to combat these capabilities and the subsequent countermeasures developed, whether in the form of electronic or cyber-attack, will need supporting data.
This will be derived from sensors based in space, within the atmosphere and beneath the oceans. The volume will be so vast that it will be impossible for humans alone to sift through it all and identify the tiny amount that is relevant or, indeed, work out why something will be of any relevance. This problem is known as Big Data and the solution is Advanced Analytics, which will evolve from analysis using expert knowledge, via statistical learning to contextual adaptation.
The current mission data support process can broadly (and simplistically) be explained as: data collected from the EM spectrum is analysed and that considered operationally relevant is deconstructed and the results passed to the production team who will turn it into something that platform systems can use. The “operations” team, comprising experienced users from different disciplines, will act as interpreters between the analysts and producers, and between these technical gurus and the customers. Advanced analytics, supported by ever faster processing hardware and communications systems, will hopefully help the mission data teams sift through the exponentially increasing amount of data, at a pace that allows them to keep up with the rapid changes and a fidelity required to support operations.
Depending on your level of optimism, this change could be revolutionary or evolutionary (see the Gartner Hype Cycle in the NATO document) but all of the personnel involved in applied EW (if any) will need to understand how their element of the process works and its limitations. How will they be trained? If you subscribe to the idea that all of the technologies described in the Biotechnology and Human Enhancement sections of the references will be adopted, the whole process may take milliseconds as “knowledge” is simply downloaded. I am more cautious about how much of these will become reality, if for no other reason than ethics. The delivery method is not the key factor: the skill of the trainer will be to determine what knowledge is required at each stage to promote understanding, support analysis and foster creativity. Education is the foundation upon which effective training is built, from both the deliverers’ and receivers’ perspectives, and it is essential that we have an objective, informed view of technological and cultural developments that will shape our futures.
So, within the ATAT Team we are embracing these future challenges by developing courses that will help our students understand how current and future technologies are, and may be, applied in their own operational environments (air, land, maritime, cyber and space). We are well placed to offer “classic” EW and advanced, applied technological education and training owing to our own global operational experience in the Royal Air Force, as graduates and instructors in the world-renowned Aerosystems Course, and specialist roles in aircraft and system test and evaluation, EW mission data support, geospatial intelligence, aircrew training, advanced engineering training, and management of civilian and military training courses.
The video below demonstrates our instructional ability to convey complex topics in an original format; in addition to showing how our current 'classic' EW capabilities fit with our imminent complimentary advanced courseware.
This blog is written by Nick Davies, who works in Inzpire's Applied Technology Analysis and Training team. Nick joined the RAF as a Navigator in 1991 and enjoyed a long and varied military career. During his time in the Armed Forces, he undertook a number of instructional roles and in his final tour he worked as a military adviser to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratories at Portsdown West.
Inzpire Limited is one of 27 companies worldwide recognised by Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems as an Elite Supplier.
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