The US Army used cyber weapons and electronic warfare (EW) technology to thwart a simulated tank assault at a training exercise conducted at the Army National Training Center at California.>A 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.
The cyber weapon used in the exercise specifically targeted the radio and wireless communication systems of the tankers. 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.
GPS alternatives being explored include DARPA’s Adaptable Navigation Systems (ANS) and Spatial, Temporal and Orientation Information in Contested Environments program, which is based on using extremely long-range signals, self-sufficient tactical clocks, and data sharing to overcome EW attacks.
The ANS program uses cold-atom interferometry technology to pinpoint location and time without transmitting electromagnetic signals to and from satellites that are susceptible to enemy EW interference. The ANS sensor houses a cloud of atoms and software algorithms are able to measure the acceleration and rotation of this atom cloud to calculate position and time.
The ANS is also capable of exploiting commercial electromagnetic emissions from radios and TVs, as well as natural electromagnetic emissions from lightning strikes, according to a DARPA media release. Cold-atom interferometry data combined with data from these incidental emissions render the ANS a potentially more accurate and versatile measurement system, able to operate in GPS-denied environments.
As many as seven alternative systems for Precision, Navigation, and Timing are being considered, and work on the first PNT projects has begun and is scheduled for operational assessment in early 2018, Shoffner said at the AFCEA NOVA Army IT Day.