ISREW – Warfare in the electromagnetic spectrum


As air forces around the world embark on their transition to the so-called ‘5th generation’ capabilities of modern, highly-networked, platforms such as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and their Chinese or Russian equivalents, greater emphasis is being placed on non-kinetic means of warfare.

Indeed, senior Air Force officers say openly that non-kinetic warfare, or harnessing the electro-magnetic spectrum, will become more important in the modern battlespace than the traditional forms of warfare, which began when mankind first learned to throw stones at each other.

The ability to shut down or destroy an enemy’s ability to detect or respond to a threat or to render his communications systems unusable will provide the decisive edge in tomorrow’s battlespace.

However, at present this is very much a work in progress and no single country or air arm currently has either all the answers or all the capabilities in service. In RAAF terms, one of the goals of Plan Jericho, the ‘roadmap’ to the 5th generation Holy Grail, is to harness the electromagnetic spectrum to achieve this decisive edge.

The future electronic order of battle will include all the RAAF’s Super Hornet and F-35 fighters, EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack aircraft, E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) P-8A Poseidon and MQ-4C Triton intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft and the Gulfstream 550 ISREW (ISR and Electronic Warfare) platform.

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