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Nick Wakeman

The move beyond bombs and bullets

Today’s warfighters have many tools at their disposal but the threats also are constantly changing.

When you are talking about kinetic threats – bombs, bullets and missiles – the training regime and thought processes are pretty well established..

Because of the way they train and the data that is available on the threats and the weapons, commanders and warfighters know what they can do and what the results likely will be. They understand their choices and can quickly make decisions.

But as non-kinetic weapons – cyber and electromagnetic—enter the fray, the training and training tools need to change.

Raytheon recently won a contract with the Missile Defense Agency to help incorporate non-kinetic weapons and defenses into the same war-game exercises that have long been part of the training for kinetic weapons.

By early 2018, the company will deliver an automated tool that will assess the effectiveness of using kinetic weapons such as missiles and interceptors in conjunction with cyber and electronic warfare weapons in wargames.

“We want to allow the warfighter to try out different con-ops (concepts of operations) to know when to use kinetic, non-kinetic or a combination,” said Todd Probert, vice president of mission support and modernization at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services.

The project connects back to the on-going Third Offset, where the U.S. is trying to maintain its superiority on the battlefield through the use of technology.

“We no longer can just overwhelm the enemy with numbers,” he said. And other nations have caught up on the use of precision weapons.

Raytheon’s tool will bring together automation, analytics and cyber capabilities, Probert said. It will take in real-world data on threats and kinetic and non-kinetic effects. It will create a realistic simulation and then calculate probabilities of success and predict damage to the target. The ideas is to give a level of confidence in the outcome depending on what the commanders and warfighters decide to use.

“The future of the battlefield is about speed,” Probert said.

Commanders need to know what is at their disposal and understand the various outcomes depending on what they decide to do.

What Raytheon’s tool will do is allow for wargaming different scenarios where kinetic and non-kinetic weapons and defenses are used together. The more scenarios that are run, the greater the understanding and the greater the confidence.

“We need to have the confidence to bring all of those tools to the fight,” Probert said.

Raytheon’s program is known as Coordinated Cyber/Electronic Warfare Integrated Fires program, or CCEWIF.

It is the first real use of cyber and electronic warfare in war-gaming scenarios, he said.

He compared the emergence of non-kinetic weapons on the battlefield to the evolution of the aircraft. First it was used for surveillance and recognizance. Then pilots were literally dropping bombs from the cockpit. Next was close air support for ground troops and air to air combat and so on.

“The physics of the airplane had to evolve with it,” he said.

Training and concepts of operations had to change as air became another battle domain along side land and sea. Now, cyber and space are the emerging battle domains.

The big difference with non-kinetic is that the evolution is faster. “Cyber evolves daily,” Probert said. “So we have to go through as many scenarios as possible as quickly as we can.”

Real world results will be fed back into the training system to increase its accuracy as well.

“If you are a commander and you have an incoming missile, you need to know if you send a missile, what is your probability of success,” Probert said. “And if you combine a missile with a non-kinetic response, what is your probability?”

The scenarios also can include what happens if you respond first with cyber or electronic warfare or any other combination, he said.

“This is really about the maturing of the technology,” Probert said.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 23, 2017 at 2:39 PM

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