You need more than good Wi-Fi for electronic warfare.
Effective EW -- conflict in the electromagnetic spectrum -- relies on a complicated mix of signals, data and critical decisions. Yet operators can find themselves in locations with fragmented connections, or in some cases, no connections at all. That can shut them off from the comms and data they need to make immediate, informed decisions — a bad situation made worse if the enemy has invested in their own EW technology.
The U.S. Army has enlisted Raytheon Intelligence & Space's help in the European theater. The result is Raven Claw, a mobile version of the Army’s program of record, Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool. The tool helps operators control signals in the field even without a host server or reliable connection to external data.
“By controlling EW systems remotely, the Army is able to continue to operate from last-known data and real-time feeds, even offline,” said Annabel Flores, vice president of Electronic Warfare Systems at Raytheon Intelligence & Space.
Built on EWPMT’s first two capability drops, or planned incremental software releases, Raven Claw was delivered for testing in just six months. During near-peer exercises in European theater, Raven Claw proved itself to be fully mission-capable — the military's way of saying it can do its job. Those exercises marked the first time an electronic warfare officer was able to operate in the field, from a laptop, in a moving Army vehicle.
Raven Claw gives EW officers the ability to sense, understand, decide and act in the electromagnetic spectrum. That provides EW officers freedom of action in the airwaves, even when they have a poor network connection.
Raven Claw operates from a ruggedized military laptop and can be used with other Army systems and sensors. Operators can manipulate multiple sensors from its one common interface.
And for the future, a new version of Raven Claw is in development based on direct feedback from users. It will give operators an updated, action-oriented user interface, allowing them to make sense of spectrum data quickly and reduce what the Army calls cognitive overload, all while still providing full functionality at the command post.
That flexibility is important when you’re expected to work fast in the back of a truck or other vehicle moving through rough terrain.
“Building and testing directly with Army operators helped drive our ability to rapidly deliver Raven Claw,” said Jeff Polhamus, a program manager at Raytheon Intelligence & Space. “That and our own investment in an experimental version of the program let us stay ahead of our customer’s needs.”
By adding capability to the existing EWPMT software baseline, Raven Claw ensures that Capability Drops 3 and 4 have the latest software. As it was in Raven Claw, user feedback will inform future capability drops.