The New E.W. Threat--Electro Optics CSC 1984 SUBJECT AREA Electronic Warfare(EW) THE NEW E.W. THREAT - ELECTRO OPTICS Submitted to Mr. Rudolpb V. Wiggins In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for Written Communications The Marine Corps Command and Staff College Quantico, Virginia Major J.A. Penne United States Marine Corps April 6, 1984 Outline Thesis statement: Electronic Warfare to counter acquisition and fire control radars is accepted, but few acknowledge the presence of the threatening adjunct-optical or electro-optical (EO) sensors and the human operators who man them. I. Introduction A. Soviet SAM and AAA Systems B. "Hidden Threat" - Electro-optics C. The "optimist" D. The "realist" II. Human Operators A. Man versus machine B. The Soviet soldier C. The human, key element in U.S. aircraft D. The operator in AAA or SAM systems III. Quantifying Human Operators - a Problem IV. The Future A. Predictions B. Increase in automation C. Training programs D. Changes in our philosophies V. Conclusion A. Countermeasures Integration B. Current technology not ignored C. Stress psychological and physiological THE NEW E.W. THREAT - ELECTRO OPTICS "There is nothing hypothetical about the Soviet military machine. Its expansion, modernization, and contributions to projection of power beyond Soviet boundaries are obvious."1 To this end, the Soviet Union has amassed an array of air defense weapons which are unparalleled.2 The proliferation of these weapons, Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) and Anti-Air Artillery (AAA) systems in particular, has followed a pattern worldwide: Keep the new and export the old. While these weapons are not invincible, they are numerous and errective. The Soviets are spending more than ever on defense in order to maintain this posture.3 In the early 1970's most experts agreed that the U.S. capability surpassed that of the Russians; in 1983 the experts concurred that the Russians now surpass the U.S.4 One can argue about absolute numbers or how to rate the effectiveness of a given weapon, but the bottom line is still the same. In electronic warrare the USSR has an awesome capability.5 The number of radars, frequencies employed, counter-countermeasures, etc. is staggering. Not all of these radars are state-of-the-art, but their sheer numbers serve a useful purpose. The emphasis of this paper is on Soviet tactical SAM and AAA systems. Electronic warfare to counter acquisition and fire control radars is accepted, but few acknowledge the presence of the threatening adjunct-optical or electro- optical (EO) sensors and the human operators who man them. These sensors are of interest to both the USSR and the USA.6 Some experts believe that the overall EO capability of the USSR and her allies is approximately equal to that of NATO.7 Some sources suggest that the USSR is in the lead in laser research. Sensors in the visible and infrared regions have the capacity to enhance the effectiveness of SAM and AAA systems.8 In the last decade they have found wide- spread use for target detection and tracking.9 A review of tactical SAM and AAA systems from many countries indicates some frequently occuring capabilities: optical sensors, electro-optical sensors including low light level TV, EO autotrackers and Infrared (IR) autotrackers.10 The Sovists seem to parallel every search and fire control radar with an optical or EO sensor.11 The Soviet mobile SAM and AAA systems, exemplified by the SA-8 and ZSU 23-4 are believed to be the most significant threat to our pilots.12 The SA-6 has demonstrated effectiveness against low flying aircrart in the Yom Kippur War; this was attributed to its doppler radar.13 While this is believable, it is equally reasonable to assume that a TV tracker was also responsible for its effectiveness. TABLE 1 shows some relevant characteristics of two representative Soviet systems.14,15 Click here to view image Such threat profiles from out-of-date unclassified sources do not reflect current capabilities. The passive sensors associated with these systems make the designation "hidden threat" appropriate. Optical systems are relatively small and light compared to their radar counterparts, yet they offer high resolution and accuracy.16 These systems can be used for target acquisition as well as tracking. A passive sensor is much harder to locate on the battle- field than a radar or laser emitter; Radar Homing and Warning (RHAW) and laser warning receivers are essentially useless for detecting these sensors.17 Reconnaissance information about such threats may be vague, or absent, and the preflight briefings will be less detailed. This results in a higher workload for the aircrew. The only threat indication might come from the crews visual observation of launch or exhaust plume. Low altitude penetrations may provide more protection, but this is exactly the region where optical systems offer so much advantage over radar. Countermeasures against non-radar sensors are limited in number and effectiveness when compared with Electronic countermeasures (ECM) devices. One reaction to the "hidden threat" is the optimistic one. The "optimist" is the one who believes that "RF (Radio Frequency) is where it's at" and "What's all the hullabaloo about optics and TV?" The presence of the sensor or its effectiveness is often denied. It is common for a generic threat system to be depicted with no reference to its non-radar sensor and human operator aspects. The amount of money spent on RF, versus optical, countermeasures is a testimony to the fact that the threat is seen primarily in the new microwave spectrum. ECM has demonstrated its usefulness numerous times. But is it a cure-all? What is the useful lifespan of any given ECM technique? Rapid reaction and flexibility are a primary characteristic of many ECM techniques that have been used in battle.19 While this worked in the past, some system acquisition times are currently around eight to seventeen years and the threat can significantly change its characteristics at least once in those time frames.20 Can we afford to wait this long in light of "the Six Day War?"21 The "optimist" further believes that the threat will always be a radar directed one, autotrack for terminal phases of the engagement, and that one merely calls in the EA6Bs, or Wild Weasels to surpress the threat. The capability of aircrart against hostile radars is impressive, but it is questionable that they can operate with impunity in an environment where non- radar threat sensors are at work. Obscurants, camouflage, and bad weather are offered as non-radar countermeasures.22 Engagements in bad weather or at night are possible in Europe, but less so in the Middle East scenario. A-10s and AV-8s are basically VFR platforms for ground attach whose effectiveness would be degraded by these same conditions. The "realist" on the other hand, believes in assessing the threat and dealing with it accordingly. He knows that the majority of U.S. aircraft losses in Vietnam were from attacks by optically directed air defense weapons.23 Shouldn't fielded countermeasures match the fielded threat? Knowledge of the threat will help us to defeat it by avoiding its strengths and exploiting its weakness. The "realist" sees applications of optical and electro-optical sensors as direct parallels to their microwave counterparts.24 This is not a popular view, but "the experts" once railed to see the military applications of jet engines, radar, computers, nuclear weapons, missiles, and helicopters.25 The fact that we don't have optical countermeasures (OCM) and the fact that so many of our optics people are involved with lasers are used as excuses for not furthering large scale research rather than using them to define a requirement.26 The human is believed to be an important system element. Ultimately, men are the deciding factor by using imaginative tactics coupled with various countermeasures. We do not have the corner on creativity and we cannot afford to become complacent. In the battle of man versus machine, it is the man who possesses certain attributes which makes him uniquely suited for certain tasks. These include the capability to monitor low probability events, detect weak signals, obtain miscellaneous information, handle temporary overloads, and maintain adaptability. These characteristics make him a useful component in electronic warfare as he applies new ECM techniques, detects true signals and noise, and adjusts his behavior according to the situation. Machines win their share of the battles as well. They can be designed with high RF band capabilities and exhibit good tracking abilities under adverse signal conditions. They can extend man's senses into the electromagnetic spectrum. Receivers and computers can preprocess information to simplify the environment so that man can deal effectively with it. There is a divergence of opinion about the use of human operators in weapons systems. Let's consider what is known about the Soviet soldier and then examine what the Soviets think. An historical basis for the simplicity and rigidness of the Soviet soldier does exist. He comes from one of the most regimented societies in the world and is frequently described as possessing almost no initiative.27 One believes that he is trained with strict discipline leading to blind obedience. This is somewhat hard to resolve in view of his increasing educational level, however. One suspects that he is relegated to simple functions within the weapon system and can only degrade the system if he tries to do anything creative. Whether he performs according to "the book" in battle is not known conclusively. Philosophically the Soviets admit to upgrading the soldier to improve their combat effectiveness. They believe in strengthening his role with more diverse and complex equipment. He is encouraged to undergo a more thorough study of equipment and weapons.28 In terms of using the human operator in battle, one needs to consider U.S. aircraft against Soviet tactical AAA and SAM systems. The human operator is known to be a key element in U.S. aircraft weapon systems. The effectiveness of aircrew members in today's complex and rapidly changing environment, including EW, is a crucial issue. Threats with radar and electro-optical sensors have dictated that our mission be performed in a high speed, low altitude environment in all types of weather, day or night. This demanding mission has required an increased reliance on automatic systems. The days of facing simple threats are numbered.29 Automatic terrain following radar (TFR) and inertial navigation systems (INS) are required for mission success. U.S. electro-optical systems, such as FLIR and Laser Maverick, are needed to acquire and destroy targets. The density of the threat, particularly in Central Europe, has required the development of automated threat management systems to unburden the aircrew. When a RHAW indicator "lights up like a Christmas tree" it is impossible for fighter crews to manually detect, prioritize, engage, and jam the large number of threats in real time. In a single seat aircrart this problem is most severe. The complexity of the mission and the high aircrew workload of modern weapon systems can be contrasted with those of years ago. The 1920 era was characterized by aircraft with about five subsystems and ten controls and displays. In 1980 some aircraft contained as many as 20 plus subsystems with well over 200 controls and displays.30 Programmable ECM suites with fewer displays of "raw information" are now commonplace.31 Aircrews are forced to act as systems managers; the days of "needle-ball-airspeed-rudder-stick" as the primary task are gone forever. Given this change in traditional functions, one questions the continued role of man in future weapon systems. Some contend that the performance of some current aircraft, life the F-14 is already limited by the presence of the human operator. In spite of this, conceptual approaches to new aircraft design indicate that man will continue to be a key element. The flexibility and adaptability that man brings to the complex tactical environment cannot currently be duplicated by machines. Isn't it reasonable, then, to assume that any country would use human operators to the advantage of the weapons systems? With and AAA or SAM system, there are not as many constraints on crew size as there are for aircraft. Hence, there can be fewer functions per operator so that he has time to optimize each phase of the engagement from detection through target destruction. As a tracker with an optical or electro-optical sensor, humans can perform adequately. Personal experience indicates that the human can track well within the limits needed to put a warhead or cone of fire within lethal radius of an aircraft. There is evidence to suggest that the Soviet operators are just as inventive as our aircrews. For instance, cycling the radar on and off and turning on ground-based Jammers are techniques which the operators use to frustrate and defeat antiradiation missiles.32 If one believes that the human operator, using an optical or electro-optical sensor, is a relevant part of the threat weapon system, how does one go about quantifying his capabilities and limitations so that he can be defeated? This is a very big problem! Review of the open literature has indicated that, in comparison with EW from a hardware standpoint, relatively little effort has been expended on quantifying the effectiveness of non-radar sensors and human operators. This appears somewhat strange in view of the effectiveness afforded to weapon systems by these elements. Proper orchestration of current qualification techniques can yield useful information about optical sensors, electro- optical sensors, and human operators. It is possible to obtain results about a given sensor, countermeasure, or strategy by itself or as a function of numerous factors. Unless we understand their performance, we are limiting our development of the countermeasure to defeat them. Predictions about the future role of non-radar sensors and human operators are no easier to mace than for other areas of weapon development. It is reasonably safe to assume that there will be a continuation of countermeasure and counter-countermeasure development since no technique or device is effective forever. To maintain a high level of countermeasure effectiveness, we must maintain the element of surprise. The goal is to win the battle-for-time so that the enemy's engagement sequence is delayed adequately to facilitate our mission success; permanent disruption is unlikely. in all instances.33 In dealing with future weapons, we need to establish a list of priorities concerning the hardware and the operators, and review our traditional philosophies.34 EW in the microwave region will continue, of course, and, while electronic advances will help alter the tide of battle, RF devices will become part of an overall capability rather than being the dominant force that they are today. Hardware improvement directed at the areas of millimeter wave radar, thermal imaging, lasers, and LLLTV will likely come before one sees any deployment of exotic "star wars" weapons such as the particle beam and electromagnetic pulse. I have seen very few cases where the number of sensors or emitters on a weapon system has been reduced. Whether this is good or bad is irrelevant; increases are likely to continue. Equating complexity with effectiveness has been a tenuous assumption when factors such as reliability and mean time to repair were given low priority. Increasing the number of simultaneous sensors will be an asset if the system merely degrades rather than fails due to a single sensor failure. Sensor integration will play an important role for such tasks as assessing target characteristics based on the RF, infrared, and visible signatures. A further increase in automation is likely to occur. There will be too many functions for too few operators to perform in too little time. Crew sizes for AAA and SAM systems could be increased more readily, if warranted, than for fighter aircraft - larger aircrews mean larger aircraft which are less maneuverable and easier to intercept. This automation has the potential for improving weapon system effectiveness, but it can also serve as a target for countermeasures. The newer sensors and their respective integration might well fall victim to jammers, decoys, etc., just as I have seen happen to RF devices. I believe that neither the Soviet Union nor the United States has a monopoly on being innovative in weaponry. If the human operator can be used in newer ways, one might witness such employment on both sides. To those that believe man will soon become obsolete, one would draw attention to some supposedly "obsolete" Soviet radar systems that can be degraded by only our newest technologies. There are some indications that the adaptability and flexibility of the human operator will be combined with various computer applications to increase overall mission capability. Operators will become more like managers and less like workers as exemplified by such systems as the Phalanyx AAA with its fully automatic capabilities.35 Their role as a backup in case of an equipment failure is invaluable. This will necessitate training programs which address issues other than just equipment operations.36 Our weapon system operators must be trained to focus on the weak points of the threat operator and avoid conveying the idea tha Ivan is perfect and if you make a mistake, it will be your last. Knowing the operator's weak points of a threat system, which can be assessed in part by studying their doctrine, is the starting point for developing countermeasures. It is a little more difficult to determine what will happen under battle conditions where operation according to the book is freguently violated. Whatever means we develop, we must consider the benefits and liabilities on a case by case basis. RF ECM is an analogy where remaining silent is sometimes better than jamming.37 If we are to equal or surpass the Soviets in the application of newer sensors and human operators to weapon systems, there are some rundamental changes in our philosophies that must be made. Countering the enemy on each front, RF, EO, etc., is a necessity and this is not currently possible in view of our decreasing budget for EO R and D.38 Control of the microwave spectrum will not give us supremacy on the EO battlefield. Can we afford to believe that only technology will save us in the future since we will still be outnumbered.39 As mentioned earlier, design performance must be coupled with reliability and ease of maintenance to give us operational availability. The Soviets have demonstrated that they are willing to accept a tech- nological plateau - real, imagined, or dictated. Their next step is to mass produce weapons based on that technology. This is exemplified by a situation where the U.S. has pursued quality while the Soviets have pursued quantity. Our Patriot system has been under consideration since 1963 and has yet to be fielded.40 The Soviets, in the same time frame, have fielded large quantities of the SA-3,SA-4,SA-5,SA-6,SA-8, and SA-9 SAM systems.41 These SAM systems serve as good examples of integrated air defense threats - i.e. they combine two or more sensors/emitters with human operators to increase effectiveness. Thus, we must deal with the threat by using integrated, or at least multiple countermeasures. Electronic warfare will be accelerated in the regions above the microwave spectrum and will include optical, electro-optical, and related techniques. We must continue the development of individual counter- measures, but also give heavy attention to their in- tegration. Our current technology should not be ignored, however. By applying it in more unique ways we may be able to achieve certain advantages at a relatively low cost and in a reasonable time frame. Heightened interest in the regions below microwave, V.H.F., H.F., and even the audible region, may offer alternatives for target detection and tracking. We might not need munitions and ordinance to defeat the human operator. Instead, we should look at techniques that stress his psychological and physiological capabilities. I believe areas to explore include: (1) sensor disruption, (2) loading up of decision-making processes, and (3) degradation of his target detection and tracking abilities. New technology may be required in the first two areas, but something as simple as an aircraft maneuver could possibly be used to achieve the third. We are now at a point of departure for weapon systems development. The future air defense threat will be characterized by an acceleration shirt from single sensor weapons with rudimentary human involvement to very sophisticated systems, using multiple sensors with operators serving as managers and strategists. Con- sequently, it is imperative that we assess the human threat and deal with it accordingly. If we do not, we will surely lose the next EW war to Electro-Optics. FOOTNOTES 1Department of Defense, Soviet Military Power, 2nd ed. U.S. Government Printing office, March 1983, p. preface. 2Ibid, p. 38. 3Paul Backus, ed., "Industry Forum," Journal of Electronic Defense, 4 (March/April 1981), p.59. 4Twenty-Eighth Joint Electronic Warfare Conference, Quantico, Virginia, May 24-26, 1983. 5Paul Backus, "Other Air Force EW Considerations," Journal of Electronic Defense, 3 (March/April 1980), p. 25. 6Gerald Green, "Wahington Report," Journal of Electronic Defense, 4 (January/February 1981), p. 11. 7Twenty-Eighth Joint Electronic Warfare Conference. 8David Mann, "Electro-Optics Extend U.S. Navy Capabilities," Journal of Electronic Defense, 4 (January/ February 1981), p. 19. 9Department of the Air Force, Electronic Warfare Principles, USAF AFP 51-3, (Washington, D.C. 1981) p. 9-1. 10Eustace et al., The International Countermeasures. Handbook, 8th ed. (Palo Alto: EW Communications, Incor- porated, 1983), p. LEXICON. 11Paul Backus, "E/O Overview," Journal of Electronic Defense, 4 (January/February 1981), p. 23. 12Twenty-Eighth Joint Electronic Warrare Conference. 13U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, The 1973 Middle East War Reference Book 100-2, 1 (Fort Leavenworth 1976), pp. 5-2-5-4. 14U.S. Army, Air Defense Employment, Chapparral/ Vulcan. FM44-3 (Washington D.C. 1977), pp. 2-6-2-7. 15Ray Bonds, ed., The Soviet War Machine, (London: Salamander Books, 1976), pp. 56,227. 16Backus, January/February 1981, p. 22. 17USAF AFP5I-3, pp. 9-13-9-14. 18Ibid, p.9.1O. 19M.T. Thurbon, "The Nature of Electronic Warfare," Journal of Electronic Defense, 3 (May/June 1980), p. 34. 20Backus, March/April 1980, p. 30. 21Backus, March/April 1981, p. 62. 22USAF AFP 51.3, p. 9-12. 23Twenty Eighth Joint Electronic Warfare Conference. 24USAF AFP 51.3, p. 9-1. 25James Fallows, "America's High-Tech Weaponry," Atlantic Monthly, 247 (May 1981), p. 29. 26Twenty-Eighth Joint Electronic Warfare Conference. 27U.S. Army, Handbook on Soviet Ground Forces, FM 30-40 (Washington, D.EC. 1975) p. 3-25. 28A.M. Datchenko and I.F. Vydrin, Military Pedagogy, A Soviet View (Moscow: 1973), pp. 109-122. 29Backus, March/April 1981, p. 63. 30Commander, Naval Air Systems Command, U.S. Navy, EA6B NATOPS Manual, NAVAIR 01-85ADC (Washington, D.C. 1981), pp. all 31George McDougal and Thomas Miller, "An Integrated EW Testing and Evaluation Concept," Journal of Electronic Defense, 3 (July/August 1980), p. 53. 32Ronald Pretty, ed., Jane's Weapon Systems. 1971-1972 (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co.,1972). p. 231. 33Thurbon, May/June 1980, p. 31. 34Backus, January/February 1981, pp. 22.28. 35Ronald Pretty, ed., Jane's Weapon Systems 1983-1984 (New York: Jane's Publisbing nc., 1983) p. 145. 36Thurbon, May/June 1980, p. 36. 37Ibid, pp. 31-36. 38Backus, January/February 1981, p. 22. 39Fallows, May 1982, p. 21. 40Pretty, 1983-1984, pp. 107-108. 41Paul Chesley, "Air Force Acquisition - Too Slow a Process," Journal of Electronic Defense, 3 (March/April 1980), p. 39. BIBLIOGRAPHY Backus, Paul. "E/O Overview." Journal of Electronic Defense, 4 (January/February 1981), 23. Backus, Paul, ed. "Industry Forum." Journal of Electronic Defense, 4 (March/April 1981), 59. Backus, Paul. "Other Air Force EW Considerations." Journal of Electronic Defense, 3 (March/April 1980), 25. Bonds, Ray, ed. The Soviet War Machine. London: Salamander Books, 1976. Chesley, Paul. "Air Force Acquisition - Too Slow a Process." Journal of Electronic Defense, 3 .(March/ April 1980), 39. Commander, Naval Air System Command. U.S. Navy, EA6B Natops Manual, NAVAIR O1-85 ADC. Washington, D.C.: Chief of Naval Operations, 1981. Danchenko, A.M., and I.F. Vydrin. Military Pedagogy, A Soviet View. Moscow: 1973. Department of the Air Force. Electronic Warfare Principles, USAF AFP51-3. Washington, D.C.: United States Air Force, 1978. Department of Defense. Soviet Military Power. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: U.S. government Printing office, March 1983. Eustace, et al. The International Countermeasures Handbook. 8th ed. Palo Alto: EW Communications, Inc., 1983. Fallows, James. "America's High-Tech weaponry." Atlantic Monthly, 247 (May.1981), 29. Green, Gerald. "Washington Report." Journal of Electronic Defense, 4 (January/February 1981), 11. Mann, David. "Electro-Optics Extend U.S. Navy Capabilities." Journal of Electronic Defense, 4 (January/February 1981), 19. McDougal, George, and Thomas Miller. "An Integrated EW Testing and Evaluation Concept." Journal of Electronic Defense, 3 (July/August 1980), 53. Pretty, Ronald, ed. Jane's Weapon Systems 1971-1972. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1972. Pretty, Ronald, ed. Jane's Weapon Systems 1983-1984. New YorK: Jane's Publishing Inc., Thurbon, M.T.. "The Nature of Electronic Warfare." Journal of Electronic Defense, 3 (May/June198O), 34. Twenty-Eighth Joint Electronic Warfare Conference. Quantico, Virginia, May 24-26, 1983. U.S. Army. Air Defense Employment, Chapparral/Vulcan, FM 44-3. Washington D.C.: Department of the Army, 1977. U.S. Army. Handbook on Soviet Ground Forces, FM 30-40. Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army, 1975. U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. The Middle East War Reference BooK 100-2. Fort Leavanworth: 1976.
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