Military Embedded Systems

Cybersecurity in radar/electronic warfare systems


March 01, 2017

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is pushing for more security in radar and electronic warfare (EW) systems. “What used to be kind of the split between system integrity or anti-tamper and information assurance really is falling under the same cybersecurity umbrella,” says Shaun McQuaid, director of product management for Mercury Systems’ Embedded Products Group in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

“At the end of the day there is a real desire, at least amongst all of the government folks that I've been interacting with, to have that capability baked into the solution from the start as opposed to bolted on at the end,” he continues. “That's primarily driven by two reasons: one is affordability, because it's much more costly to retrofit security after the fact. Two is that the bolt-on solution tends to be less agile and less able to respond to new threats as they come forth.”

As radar and EW systems continually get smarter “it’s clear that IP [intellectual property] security is a critical aspect going forward,” says Haydn Nelson, director, Marketing and Appli-cations Engineering, 4DSP Products at Abaco Systems in Austin, Texas. “The algorithms to sense and deny sensing are often classified; thus, our signal-processing products need to be open so our customers can insert their classified IP and keep it protected and under the control of defense agencies. We see Xilinx reacting to this demand with many security features included in their new Zynq Ultrascale+ MPSOC (multiprocessor system-on-chip) devices. We expect IP security to be more of a focus in 2017 than ever before.”

Going forward, “the cyber resiliency side of the world is going to become more and more critical for these platforms because they are going to have less and less oversight from humans,” McQuaid says. “They have to be able to survive when they are either damaged or fall into the wrong hands. These systems need to make sure that they are protected and that their critical capabilities are not exposed.”

Read the complete article that details how low-latency and open architectures are enabling smarter radar/ew systems: Low-latency processing, open architectures key for smarter radar/EW systems