AOC Europe 2021


EW and Cyber-over-RF: Similarities and Differences

12 Oct 2021

On October 1st, 2010 a new command was established in the US army: The Army Cyber Command. The command’s goal is to “integrate and conduct full-spectrum cyberspace operations, electronic warfare, and information operations”. This step gave the sign for a decade of entanglement between the EW and Cyber-over-RF (CRF) domains, and the interactions between them change constantly.

Today the CRF is an extensive, complex field, with interfaces to both the EW and the general Cyber domains. Armies, intelligence agencies and law-enforcement organizations are running CRF operations to gain advantage against their adversaries. The way they use CRF, however, is substantially different. The different goals and Modus Operandi derive very different solutions and systems. Of the three types of users, naturally military organizations are the only ones which need to cope with intricate relations between the CRF and EW domains. Not only the two fields often offer similar operational effects (e.g. interference with enemy’s communications), they also both operate in the electromagnetic spectrum, thus forcing tight coordination.

Along with challenges, the evolution of CRF also brings with it tremendous opportunities for the EW field. EW systems can be used as carriers for execution of CRF operations, allowing force multipliers in the future battlefield. Even more, new operational effects may be achieved by combining pure jamming and Cyber attack techniques. Suddenly, old arguments around the definitions of EW and CRF seem outdated - a clear sign for the maturation of the CRF field.

In this lecture the presenter will review, among other things, the following topics: How different types of operational users make use of the CRF domain, and how it influences their requirements and their systems; Similarities and differences between classical EW and CRF, and general Cyber and CRF; and the evolution of CRF and next steps in this emerging field.

Philip Sturley CB MBE, Conference Chairman - Consultant
Uri Barkan, General Manager - Sigmabit