Military Embedded Systems

Spectrum-sensing battlefield-safety projects launched by U.S. Army

News

February 12, 2021

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Spectrum-sensing battlefield-safety projects launched by U.S. Army
Photo credit: Jasmyne Douglas, DEVCOM C5ISR Center Public Affairs

U.S. ARMY FACILITY -- ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. The U.S. Army is working on improving situational awareness of the electromagnetic battlefield, embarking on projects that aim to develop spectrum-sensing capabilities that will give soldiers enhanced awareness of their own radio emissions.

Soldiers currently cannot “see” their own radio emissions within the radio frequency spectrum, which means that they are at risk of detection by adversaries; the Army’s spectrum-awareness effort provides intuitive graphic overlays that enable soldiers to visualize the energy emitting from their radio frequency systems, stated Jonathan Lee, an engineer with the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center, a component of Army Futures Command’s Combat Capabilities Development Command.

Lee continued: “Knowing what we look like to the enemy from an electromagnetic perspective is a critical capability at all echelons of the Army. This technology improves one’s situational understanding of the electromagnetic environment. It will enhance units’ ability to determine if a signal is friendly or malicious, and it will aid in planning maneuvers.”

Lee and his team were able to continue growing the capability from a Department of Defense technology (DoD) readiness level (TRL) 4 – representing component or breadboard validation in a laboratory environment – to a TRL 6, which represents a prototype ready for demonstration in an operationally relevant environment. The TRL 6 level also included further maturing capabilities for actionable intelligence and improved mission planning, such as Electronic Attack Effects Simulator (EAES) and Real Time Spectrum Situational Awareness (RTSSA).

According to Lee, “The funding is allowing the science and technology community to take the next step in developing spectrum awareness capabilities that will address capability gaps for the Army. We believed this technology could be further matured to support additional complex propagation environments and support the identification of new and complex signal types. More work has to be done to further improve our situational awareness and understanding capabilities, but this funded effort is a key step in enhancing those for our soldiers.”

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