The US Army demonstrated cyber weapons and electronic warfare (EW) technology to prevent simulated tank assault at a training exercise conducted at the Army National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, early this month.
The cyber weapon used in the exercise specifically targeted the radio and wireless communication systems of the tankers, Defense Systems reported June 5.
Cyber warfare can include both jamming of communication signals and hacker infiltration into networks, which they can then either disable or manipulate to relay false information to commanders from within their own networks. This capability was also demonstrated in the exercise at Fort Irwin, according to an Army official.
The exercise reinforced the need for the EW and cyber protection technology that is under development by entities such as the Army Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) and U.S. Cyber Command.
According to the report, the Army RCO initiated the development of new EW and cyber protection kits, which have been delivered to troops in Europe for testing. The kits are able to be mounted on vehicles or carried by the soldiers themselves, according to Doug Wiltsie, Director of the Army RCO.
During heavy fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, EW technology-equipped aircraft helped suppress electromagnetic signaling from enemy ground fighters, according to the Air Force. However, in a larger war against a more technologically advanced enemy, those aircraft would be preoccupied with jamming the signals of their counterpart aircraft and the ground troops would be on their own. This is why the small size and portable nature of these cyber EW kits also has the potential to be very significant.
The final components of the kits will arrive in Europe in October, according to Wiltsie, and will be operationally tested during the Saber Guardian exercise in Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria.