Maple leaf redux.
Canada's 1990 challenge arose from the increasing use of its forces in United Nations peacekeeping missions. Since the country's planners could not predict what threats their forces would face next, Canada's EW systems had to stay as flexible as possible. Yet EW flexibility demands the capacity to change threat libraries in a hurry - and because most of their equipment and threat data came from overseas, Canadian EW staffers had little control over when (and, in some cases, if) the necessary reprogramming would occur. "We need more autonomy," they said in 1990.
Our second visit to The Great White North provided military Crows with an opportunity to reflect on the last six years of Canadian EW. "I reread your article just the other day," said a military staffer as he prepared to be interviewed. "I kept thinking that little has changed." Indeed, 1996 finds the country's EW community faced with many of the same issues that bedeviled it at the beginning of the decade. Yet to say that nothing has changed would belittle the advances made on both the military and industry sides of the EW fence.
One aspect of Canadian EW that remains intact from 1990 is an impressive amount of interservice cooperation. Such cooperation arises from two factors: the small amount of money available for defense and the way the military determines how that financial pie will be sliced.
Just as the US services have turned to joint programs and other forms of interservice synergy as their budgets have shrunk, the branches of the already small Canadian military realized early in the country's EW history that they would all have to row in the same direction if any of them were to reach their intended destinations. "We cannot afford to have energy and the resources wasted in rivalries that aren't effective," said an EW insider in 1990. "It's sort of like friction. Friction is a waste of energy."
The Canadian budgetary process enforces this harmony. Unlike in the US, the Canadian Parliament hands the country's Department of National Defence (DND) a lump sum to spend more or less as it wishes. (Government review of expenditures occurs only if a program's cost exceeds a certain ceiling.) The individual services then petition the DND for funds, based on their priorities. A Program Control Board within the DND reviews the petitions before they receive approval. Since each service enjoys representation on the board, a naval EW program, for example, must meet with the approval of not only senior Navy staffers, but of Army and Air Force representatives as well.
While such a scheme might appear a ready invitation to internecine warfare, with each service attempting to scuttle the programs of its rivals to ensure more funding for its own initiatives, the opposite effect has resulted. Perhaps realizing that they have achieved the fiduciary equivalent of Mutually Assured Destruction, the services instead act as sounding boards for each other, at the same time ensuring minimal duplication of effort.
Cooperation also extends to research, with the services sharing the expertise within the different facilities of the Defense Research Establishment. Most of the EW-related work occurs at the Defense Research Establishment-Ottawa (DREO), where much of the country's RF investigations take place. The Defense Research Establishment-Valcartier in Quebec handles the country's studies in emerging IR technologies; its work in pyrophoric flares has drawn international attention.
Of course, cooperation often proves most successful when all parties stand to benefit equally from a joint effort. The new Canadian Forces EW Centre (CFEWC) just outside Ottawa presents such a circumstance. The CFEWC represents both a testament to joint initiative and an important step toward realization of an equally joint requirement - 1990's call for increased autonomy.
According to the center's commanding officer, Maj William Bowers, the facility will provide a national EW database and analysis capability, as well as core administrative support to the integrated support stations (ISSs) each service will establish at the center. The ISSs will perform RF threat library upgrades for their respective EW systems (reprogramming for such passive systems as the AAR-47 missile warner will remain in the Rockcliffe section of Ottawa, home of the Director of Aerospace Engineering and Project Management). The CFEWC opened in mid-June, with Army and Air Force personnel already in place when JED visited a week later (the first contingent of Navy ISS staffers were expected to be on station by the time this issue went to press).
While each ISS will have its own workstations and support equipment, it also will share several assets. One of these is an AMES II threat simulator from the Advanced Systems Division of Comptek Federal Systems, Inc. Canada ordered the system approximately one year ago; it will provide the CFEWC with a high-end multichannel system that will cover a wide frequency band.
Meanwhile, the CFEWC staffers will perform much of the database manipulation with an architecture developed by Electronic Warfare Associates-Canada, Ltd. The company performed much of the preliminary work in developing the center's initial Canadian Forces EW Data Base and EW Threat Analysis System as well.
According to Major Bowers, the capability now being established is considered interim. A final configuration awaits completion of several studies, including a major force restructuring. "One aspect of that relook is what we're doing with regards to electronic warfare, and that's reestablish the priorities to meet today's concerns and where we're going," he said. New directions could include command and control warfare and information warfare, he said.
Even in its interim configuration, the center should greatly increase the Canadian Forces' ability to meet their peacekeeping responsibilities. In addition to serving as the repository of the country's EW database, the CFEWC will provide such services as threat analysis, library generation, intelligence support, electronic order of battle and database management and distribution, as well as ISS and computer support. Since the center is located next door to the DREO and shares some equipment, skilled technical and scientific expertise will be close by should the EW reprogrammers require it.
Several representatives of the center's expected user community expressed both pleasure and relief that such a national reprogramming capability is finally at hand. "I think it's key, especially with the relative potential for contingency operations that are happening these days," said Capt Dave Cochrane by way of example. Captain Cochrane works within the Directorate Aerospace Requirements, Fighters and Transports (DARFT 5), on EW issues related to the Canadian F-18 program. "If the F-18 is committed to a contingency operation, we have to have the capability to reprogram our UDF - our user data files - in a very timely fashion."
As with the reprogramming equipment of most of the Canadian services, the composition of the CF-18 ISS has yet to be finalized. It appears clear, however, that the CF-18 ISS will incorporate the EW Technology Demonstrator (EWTD), a DREO development initially designed as a testbed for the CF-18 EW suite. The DREO will retain an interest in the EWTD; thus, the CF-18 ISS will be used for research as well as reprogramming.
Captain Cochrane and his boss, LtCol Mike Stacey, expect approval for their ISS plans in the near future; the purchase of computers, software and an upgrade of the available threat simulation capabilities will follow. Initial operational capability should be achieved by next June, with the station fully on-line by March 1999.
The CF-18 reprogramming effort will be supported by the EW Integrated Test Bench, part of the CF-18 Systems Engineering Support Center at Mirabel, Quebec. Here, the upgraded EW suite software will be integrated with the aircraft's tactical avionics suite. The Canadian Air Force has augmented the test bench by ordering a TS Series EW threat simulator from Excalibur Systems Ltd. Captain Cochrane said the service expects to receive the simulator this month.
CHANGE IS IN THE AIR
While awaiting the advent of the CF-18 ISS, Colonel Stacey and Captain Cochrane have plenty of EW upgrades in the works to keep them busy. The aircraft's self-protection suite comprises the ALR-67B(V)2 radar warning receiver (RWR), ALQ-162 CW jammer, ALQ-126B RF jammer and the ALE-39 countermeasures dispenser. Each system represents a candidate for upgrade, according to the DARFT 5 staffers.
Project A2116, an upgrade to the RWR, occupies the front burner. The enhancement will concentrate on four areas: identification, pulse density, detection range and direction-of-arrival accuracy. DARFT 5 has investigated both modifying the current system and completely replacing it, said Captain Cochrane. He revealed that Canada has discussed its requirements with Loral (now part of Lockheed Martin), Litton, Phase Two Industries and a Comptek/AEL team for the modification option, and has held talks with Hughes, Loral, some unnamed Israeli companies and Australian concerns (targeting the ALR-2002) about buying a completely new system. While Colonel Stacey said he had forwarded a proposal on which option to pursue to his superiors for approval, he declined to reveal the direction he hoped to take. He did say that he expected approval by the end of this month, with an 18-month proof-of-concept exercise to follow this fall. A production contract is expected early in 1999, toward initial operational capability in 2000.
Most of the other upgrade plans won't hit their full stride until after 2000. This includes the A2688 ALQ-126B Modernization Project, although DARFT 5 hopes to benefit in the near term from work Sanders has performed on the system for the US Navy (USN). The Sanders initiative, called Engineering Change Proposal 3434, improved the jammer's performance against pulse threats while expanding the system's memory capacity and increasing its throughput. The company delivered five prototypes to the USN, which performed design test and evaluation, but not operational evaluation (OPEVAL). Canada has asked for the loan of two of the prototypes, with which it would perform its own OPEVAL, then share the results with the USN. The request currently resides in the USN's International Program Office; DARFT 5 hopes to receive a favorable reply "very soon."
The other jammer, the ALQ-162, also will benefit from refurbishment in the post-2000 time frame. Meanwhile, Canada has joined a test plan working group (under the auspices of a tri-national agreement that also includes the US and Denmark) investigating a pulse Doppler upgrade (PDU) to the system. Ground tests of the PDU have already taken place in the US and Canada, with flight tests in Denmark. The system manufacturer, Northrop Grumman, is now working on hardware specifications. While Canada has not committed to the PDU, Colonel Stacey and Captain Cochrane said they hope to stay involved with the project so that potential Canadian requirements will be considered as Northrop Grumman develops the specifications.
While these three efforts represent DARFT's main enhancement efforts, other "periphery" projects are in the works. "We are also looking at the ALE-39, which is clearly an antiquated system" said Colonel Stacey. "And we also have a project - which is a fairly long-term project - to put a missile approach warning system on the F-18."
Meanwhile, DARFT 5 also has developed a recent interest in flight-line EW testing, particularly capabilities beyond the simple go/no-go determinations of Canada's current USM-406s. "We have not committed to it, but we see it as a need to improve that capability," said Captain Cochrane. Toward this end, DARFT 5 has asked AAI for a briefing on the Joint Services EC Systems Tester and also has contacted Omega Telemus for information on past R&D work performed for the Canadian DND. Captain Cochrane expects his group to receive both briefings this month. Money, as always, presents a potential problem; DARFT 5 hopes to take advantage of "opportunity funding" - money left over from delayed programs at the end of the fiscal year - to fill this requirement.
THE OTHER SIDE
But the CF-18 doesn't represent Canada's only ongoing airborne EW activity. The Directorate Aerospace Requirements, Maritime and Rotary (DARMR), also has a few EW aces up its sleeve, according to LtCol Denys Guerin, who runs DARMR's self-protection shop.
For example, Canada's C-130 defensive EW suite has received a facelift since JED's last visit in 1990. At that time, the Air Force planned to add the APR-39A(V)2 RWR to the AAR-47 missile warner and ALE-39 dispenser that had just been installed in the aircraft. However, price and delivery problems with the APR-39A(V)2 led Canada to explore other options, according to Colonel Guerin and Maj John Anderson, who also works EW issues for DARMR. Canada finally chose the ALR-56M from Loral. With some upgrades of the ALE-39 (including modules from the more advanced ALE-47), the resulting suite should meet the C-130's needs well into the future, said the DARMR staffers. Canada has installed the suite on approximately half its C-130s, with operational capability across the entire fleet expected by November 1997.
DARMR hopes to increase its flexibility - and efficiency - by using common systems where it makes sense in the aircraft under its purview. Ideally, said Major Anderson, the suite could be configured as a mission kit that could be pulled on or off aircraft as needed. For example, similar suites are envisioned for the CP-140 (Canada's version of the P-3 Aurora) and such helicopters as the CH-146 and CH-124. However, total commonality appears an impossibility. For example, the ALR-56M has proved too heavy for the CH-146, and DARMR has looked at both US and European systems as possible replacements (with a decision expected this November).
The CH-124 also poses a problem, in that it was the "lame duck" platform the ill-fated EH-101 was supposed to replace. Now that the replacement maritime helicopter effort appears headed for eventual approval once again, DARMR is developing a prototype EW installation for the CH-124, which it proposes to use if missions require.
Meanwhile, DARMR has expressed interest in adding a laser warning capability to the CH-146. The Defense Research Establishment-Valcartier, Quebec, has developed a system called the High Angle Resolution Laser Irradiance Detector System that shows great promise, said Colonel Guerin. He also said that DARMR may seek a radar jammer for the C-130 in the future, possibly the Canadian Advanced Radar Deception System (CARDS) now under development by the DREO and McDonald Dettwiler. Colonel Guerin expects a functional prototype of CARDS by this November, with lab tests at the DREO followed by flight tests next summer.
But the biggest EW serving on DARMR's plate is undoubtedly the Challenger Electronic Support Trainer (EST) program, an ambitious effort to upgrade Canada's EW training capabilities. Lockheed Martin Canada received a contract for the program in 1993. The contract calls for the company to provide three Challenger EST aircraft (designated the CE-144) and 19 EW pods to supplement 10 existing T-33 trainer aircraft (designated the CE-133). The pods include eight A.100 electronic countermeasures (ECM) pods from the Ericsson and Rodale partnership, six threat emitter simulator pods from the erstwhile Cross Systems Division of AEL (now part of Tracor) and five chaff-dispensing pods from Lundy. The first of the A.100 pods saw its initial action during Maple Flag training exercises this past May with good results, according to Colonel Guerin.
The first Challenger aircraft will be operational in late 1997, with the other two arriving the following year. The aircraft will operate in both RF and communications frequencies. The former capability will come from an internal C- to I-Band ECM system from AEL (now Tracor), and an ESM/ELINT receiver subsystem based on the Lockheed Martin Federal Systems ALR-76; the latter from an ESM/ECM subsystem based on the Zeta ZS 1920.
Overall, the Air Force representatives expressed measured optimism about EW's future in the Canadian military. Operation Desert Storm gave the technology a chance to prove its mettle; as a result, "Over the last three to four years, there's been a marked increase in...the realization that we have to equip our aircraft with really good self-protection," said Colonel Guerin. "It's just not acceptable anymore to be flying into Sarajevo without self-protection."
Colonel Stacey echoed Colonel Guerin's positive outlook. "I think we're actually in a pretty good position," he said. "We've been pushing some of our EW projects fairly hard, and I think it's showing with the RWR modernization project....And the fact that we're looking at some potential upgrades and short-term solutions is fairly encouraging."
ONE IF BY LAND
Encouraging words could also be heard from the Directorate of Land Requirements, where Maj Andrew Scheidl overseas current EW programs and Maj Rob Knight shepherds future endeavors. Both are tasked with supporting Canada's one land-based EW unit, the nearly 100-man 2 EW Squadron. (A 40-man reserve unit is also available, should requirements warrant.) This single unit is receiving significant attention in both the near and far term. Currently, the Land Improvement Project has seen the replacement of its RF and communications ESM/DF capabilities as well as the development of a new control facility.
The RF upgrade comes in the form of the Tactical Radar Location and Identification System (TRILS). Manufactured by Lockheed Martin Canada, the TRILS operates over the 0.5- to 40-GHz band.
The Aeries system from TRW will tackle the detection and location of combat network radios at frequencies up to 500 MHz. Major Scheidl said the workstation-based Aeries should provide faster DF fixes than the prior system, as well as automated tools to aid the operator. TRW's contract calls for six Aeries systems. Both the TRILS and Aeries equipment will be mounted in light armored vehicles.
New equipment means new training requirements, and Major Scheidl hopes to meet this need with a homegrown solution. "We're looking at instituting a general-purpose EW training capability with a LAN of workstations with interchangeable hard drives to simulate whatever baseline we want to simulate," he said. The plan calls for the use of "minor requirements money" to acquire workstations and software from the TRILS and Aeries suppliers, and perhaps an integrated battlefield simulator. The Army currently has some of these capabilities already, the major reported.
The Army will tie its SIGINT capabilities together via the EW Control and Analysis Capability (EWCAC) being assembled by Lockheed Martin Canada and Software Kinetics. According to a source outside the DND, the EWCAC comes in two versions, "main complex" and "step up." Each version has an intercept vehicle, which can tap the Aeries sensors to listen to communications channels of interest, and an analyst vehicle. The analyst vehicle contains a database which can receive input from the Aeries and TRILS; operators in the vehicle also can task either asset as they require. The main complex EWCAC will have four positions in each vehicle system and will provide "full" capability. The step-up system will have three positions per vehicle and will be used as a "point" asset to establish initial SIGINT capabilities as army forces move to new positions. The EWCAC should be fielded early in 1999.
In the interim, the Army will use a system called the Computerized EW Operations Centre (CEWOC), based on the Data Fusion and Correlation Techniques Testbed developed by the DREO with help from Software Kinetics. The CEWOC includes both intercept and analyst vehicles, augmented by a communications vehicle. The intercept vehicle contains four positions, while the analyst vehicle has three.
Meanwhile, the DREO has embarked on research projects with a land-forces slant. For example, the DREO expects to release a request for proposals this fall for advanced development of the Badger detection, DF and jamming system. According to Pierre Yansouni, who heads the DREO's ESM section, the Badger should prove effective against fixed-frequency, frequency-hopping and short-duration signals in the VHF band that the current Aeries system does not cover. Early development and field trial of a system in conjunction with Lockheed Martin Canada proved the system's value. Yansouni said the DREO may have a fieldable system in two or three years.
Looking toward the future, Major Knight said he expects to spend almost Can$100 million by 2005 as part of an omnibus land EW project that will involve both R&D and equipment production. Some of the R&D will focus on Canada's capability against complex waveforms. "We've got the single-channel electronic warfare down; we're very good at that," said Major Knight. "And we actually have capabilities in some of the exotic waveforms in a very, very, very limited manner. But what we're looking at now is doing some follow-on projects to expand that into more of the exotic waveforms."
Data fusion will form another area of research. "What we want to do is look at how to assimilate data fast and use some knowledge-based applications, some smart computers, so that they can actually do some of the thinking for us," the major explained. "Basic pattern matching - if you can see a pattern, hopefully we can train a computer to see the pattern."
Should these efforts prove successful, Major Knight hopes to move them onto a track toward fielded systems; if not, he said he might turn to other countries working on similar projects. Either way, he wants to develop a modular, upgradeable architecture that would enable individual modules to be packaged in several formats - manpack, vehicular and UAV, for example.
Major Knight said the Army has launched a major study to determine future threats. The study will not target individual countries; rather, it will focus on the technologies likely to appear in future conflicts. The major hopes to receive the results of the study next spring.
EW: A MARITIME PROVINCE
Upgrades also are the order of the day aboard Canadian Navy vessels, according to LCDR Alan Williams, staff officer, EW, within the Directorate Naval Requirements. Commander Williams, who is relatively new to his position, works closely with his counterpart at Maritime Command Headquarters; Commander Williams oversees procurement efforts, while the Maritime Command EW staff officer, LCDR Peter Ellis, is active in creating policy, determining requirements and identifying systems that Commander Williams might procure. These two offices are expected to merge next year, said Commander Williams, when Maritime Command Headquarters merges with the staff at the DND.
The Canadian Navy has followed a policy of common equipment across as many platforms as possible in its surface fleet, which includes the Canadian Patrol Frigate (CPF), Tribal-class/TRUMP destroyers and AOR supply ships. For example, both the CPF and TRUMP ships carry the AN/SLQ-501 Canadian Navy EW System (CANEWS), an ESM unit built by MEL Defence Systems Canada before it was acquired by Lockheed Martin Canada, and the GEC-Marconi-built AN/SLQ-502 off-board decoy system. The CPF also has the AN/SLQ-503 Ramses RF jamming and deception system, while the AORs derive ESM capability from Racal Kestrel II systems. The Shinpads display and control unit from Computing Devices remains standard equipment aboard Canadian Navy ships.
Recent improvements in Navy EW have been evolutionary rather than revolutionary, said Commander Williams. The CANEWS is a case in point. "What we have tried to do is get the maximum bang for our dollar through incremental change for the purposes of currency," the commander explained. "And what I'm getting at there is, for the CANEWS, rather than to just create an entirely new system, we've upgraded it under what we call the CANEWS Configuration Update Program." The "currency" requirement arose because three versions of the system had found places in the Canadian inventory, each attached to a program traveling a different time line: the CPF, TRUMP and Destroyer Life Extension efforts. In addition to rationalizing the three system configurations, the upgrade program also will result in improvements in bearing accuracy and sensitivity of signal as well as signal processing.
Further changes in the CANEWS system should come from the DREO's current CANEWS 2 effort. Working with Lockheed Martin Canada, ComDev and Software Kinetics, the DREO has developed a two-phased approach to CANEWS 2. The first will see development of enhanced processors based on a modular architecture, improved man/machine interfaces and upgraded displays. The processors will enable the CANEWS to take into account platform type and motion when identifying emitters, and provide functional identification and "solid confidence values" for target identifications.
The second phase, which probably won't begin in earnest until after 2000, according to the DREO's Yansouni, will look into extending the system's coverage into the millimeter-wave band. An auxiliary receiver also may give the system improved capability against high-duty-cycle signals.
An interim advanced development model of the CANEWS 2 processor upgrades should be delivered by the end of this year, said Yansouni. Sea thais could begin as early as next spring.
Meanwhile, the Shield countermeasures dispenser has also received minor modifications, said Commander Williams. The Navy has received briefings on the next generation of the system, but the commander did not encourage the notion that Canada would purchase a new system soon. "As it is right now, we're satisfied with the Shield system that we have on board. So we'll be holding on to that for a while," he said. "Minor modifications to keep it current are always being examined. And that's like software and maybe changes in the types of round - something like that." The system's chaff rounds are currently provided by Chemring of the UK, aboard rockets manufactured by Marconi. Commander Williams declined to comment on the subject of IR rounds.
The Navy should continue its "steady as she goes" course in the future. "I think over the next few years, our immediate goal or theme is going to be to maintain the level of ability that we have obtained with CPF and TRUMP and to make sure that level of ability keeps pace with technology over the long term," the commander said.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
While Canada continues its strides toward EW independence, few in the community doubt that aid from such countries as the US and UK will ever become unnecessary. In fact, LtCol Randy Alward, chief of staff for EW within the J6 area of the Canadian Forces Supplementary Radio System Headquarters, has living, breathing reminders of this lifeline on his joint staff: a colonel from the US Air Force and a squadron leader from the UK Royal Air Force. Both "foreigners" play significant roles in Canadian EW: the most recent US representative, Col Bill Euker, has written a considerable amount of Canada's joint EW doctrine, while soon-departing Squadron Leader Rick Parsons has used his engineering background to help get the CFEWC squarely on its feet.
Still, Canadian EW has a role to play on the world stage alongside such military giants, Colonel Alward said. "My view there," explained the colonel, "is to recognize that Canada certainly is much smaller in terms of our contribution than what our allies do. So I think there is a desire on our pan to try and find niche areas where we can effectively work and contribute."
While some of those niche areas will be technological, spreading the word about the benefits of EW to multinational peacekeeping missions could just as easily prove an area where Canada can make its mark. "Regrettably, I must admit that EW is not viewed as a desirable part of [multinational peacekeeping plans]," he said. "I think that's changing, because I feel that if we had EW employed in some of those operations, we indeed would save lives, simply by the commanders being aware through ESM of what activity is going on out there. And I think we're making progress in raising that level of awareness to in fact use electronic warfare. But I would have to say it's probably not accepted at this point."
What can be accepted is that six years have not diminished the Canadian EW community's commitment to a cooperative approach toward meeting its self-protection and SIGINT requirements. And there's little reason to expect that another six years will find any slackening in the country's progress toward acquiring the systems necessary to meet tomorrow's threats - and the autonomy necessary to use them most effectively.
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|Title Annotation:||Canadian electronic warfare|
|Author:||Hardy, Stephen M.|
|Publication:||Journal of Electronic Defense|
|Date:||Aug 1, 1996|
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