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Activity title

Communication in contested EW environment

Activity Reference

IST-ET-108 (COM)

Panel

Information Systems Technology

Security Classification

Other

Status

Planning

Activity type

ET

Start date

2019

End date

2019

Keywords

ED, EPM, jamming, resilience, robust communications

Background

Recent exercises at the eastern border of the NATO territory, the presence in the Baltic States and the war in Ukraine have shown that Russia’s strategy on Electronic Warfare (EW) is successful. Both their Electronic Attack (EA) (eg. jamming) potential and their Electronic Support (ES) (eg. Target-localisation) show that current NATO tactical communication infrastructure is vulnerable for EW actions and will be severely challenged. Current Electronic Defence (ED) actions are mainly focused on technical solutions for radios, such as hopping and spread spectrum techniques. It is doubtful whether this is enough to counter the presented threat. Therefor new paradigms for ED are required. Russia’s doctrine by combining EW, RPAS and artillery to detect, identify, locate and eliminate high value units, proved very successful (Recce-Strike Complex). The concept of heterogeneous MANET as studied in IST-124-RTG and IST-161-RTG might offer directions to protect the whole network instead of protecting a single radio. These studies primarily focus on efficient bandwidth usage and distribution of traffic. Countering the EW-threat requires a new way of looking at the concept.

Objectives

This study will: - provide insight in the performance of heterogeneous MANET in EW contested environment; - provide concepts to improve jamming resilience; - provide concepts to mask locations of high value units; To do this, it will consider multiple options and combine into a coherent concept. The main goal of this study is to combine promising solutions, analyses of several options (state of the art, strength and weaknesses, additional and enforcing techniques), combine them together into a concept, identify the main challenges and initiate new research on those. This might provide new TAPs on main challenges identified (which will probably include some of the topics already mentioned in the TAP. This way it could build a “house” of related research Ideally these concepts should be tested in demonstrators against the current threat, e.g. during CWIX. However the classification of the results might require to do testing in a confined environment.

Topics

To provide the results described above, the following studies should be performed: - Investigate the performance and behaviour of heterogeneous MANET in a realistic jamming environment. - Investigate holistic solutions to cope with jamming. The following studies might provide partial solutions to the problem described and could be studied briefly in this activity or more thoroughly in a separate activity: o Investigate possibilities to use routing techniques to avoid jammed channels. This requires an heterogeneous MANET with radio’s in many radio-bands. Since jammers are a target themselves, jamming won’t be continuous. Therefore, the infrastructure should be able to respond autonomously to jamming in different bands, with differing techniques and intensity. o Investigate the effectiveness of multiple beamforming for terrestrial communication (e.g. phased array antenna). o Investigate the possibilities of laser communication for terrestrial communication o Define interfaces between the network protocols and the different waveforms in the heterogeneous network in order to both detect an attack as well as utilize the EPM modes of the waveforms in the best manner o Investigate solutions to ignore signals not behaving as network-own signals. For example hardware solutions such as antenna’s automatically shielding directions where strange signals are coming from and software solutions neutralizing strange, not own, modulation formats. - Investigate the possibilities of masking high value units in the network by changing the network behaviour (traffic shaping, network morphing) and the spectrum usage (prevent fingerprinting, all units behave the same). - Investigate solutions to ignore signals not behaving as network-own signals. For example hardware solutions such as antenna’s automatically shielding directions where strange signals are coming from and software solutions neutralizing strange, not own, modulation formats. - combines the promising solutions into a concept to cope with the described threat. o Investigate the consequences of above solutions to the network performance. o Investigate possibilities for automatic policy changes during the mission (resilience, performance, masking, etc.).

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