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Electronic Warfare Friendly Fire? - 5/27/2021 5:47:56 PM   
stww2

 

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Watching a RAF Museum presentation just now, and it was mentioned that RAF "Window" (chaff) operations during WW2 interfered with RAF fighter escorts because it limited the effectiveness of the night-fighters' radars. This got me thinking, in CMO, as far as I can tell, jamming has no effect on friendly radar effectiveness. So my questions are:

1) In real life, how does jamming impact friendly radar and communications? If there is no impact, how is this avoided? If it does have an impact, how is this mitigated? (I assume the exact answers depend on the specific equipment employed)

2) Depending on the answers to above, to what extent is this reflected in CMO? To what extent should it be? How could such issues (if they exist) be modelled with existing tools?
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RE: Electronic Warfare Friendly Fire? - 5/28/2021 12:52:08 PM   
dcpollay


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My thoughts, although I am not an EW expert by any means.

First, keep in mind that the British use of chaff is not jamming in the electronic sense. It is physically throwing strips of metal into the air to clutter a radar screen. This technique doesn't care who's radar is looking, it just creates a problem for everyone. There is no real way to avoid cluttering friendly radars other than "don't use it where friendly radars are operating." In CMO chaff is just an abstracted adjustment to the endgame hit calculation, it does not affect either sides radar directly.

In real life, friendly jamming impact is largely avoided by operating your own radars on frequencies that are not being jammed. To some extent you can plan for this, although it is still determined by what frequencies the enemy uses. Frequency-agile radars can detect the jamming frequencies and adjust their own to avoid the jamming, while the jammers can detect the radar and adjust to stay on frequency. This makes modern jamming somewhat of a technology race.

As far as I know, in CMO the friendly jamming avoidance is a given. I don't think I have ever had my own units jammed by my own jammers. Enemy jamming is largely abstracted by modifications to the percentage chance of effective radar contact based upon the type and technology generation of the equipment being used.

Hope that helps. Anyone feel free to chime in and correct or fill in any blanks.



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RE: Electronic Warfare Friendly Fire? - 5/28/2021 4:46:13 PM   
BDukes

 

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Just FYI there is DECM chaff and chaff clouds. Check out the TU-16P Badger H, Tu-22KD Blinder B for example. Set them to a support mission they will drop a chaff cloud line that will descend slowly.


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RE: Electronic Warfare Friendly Fire? - 5/28/2021 4:46:58 PM   
Gunner98

 

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quote:

In real life, friendly jamming impact is largely avoided by operating your own radars on frequencies that are not being jammed.


Yeah, in real life this is done with the arcane art of Spectrum Management. I don't know much about it and if I did, I wouldn't be able to tell you anyway.

In a previous job I had the spectrum managers working for me and it was a case of feeding them information and a few hours later they would present a solution. The aim was to prevent this problem from occurring. It dosn't work out that way all the time but fixes get made.

So - can it happen? In real life it can but isn't supposed to. In CMO I don't believe it happens.

Should it happen in CMO - no, I don't think so. There are measures in place in all militaries to prevent it, so assuming everyone is doing their job you should only need to worry about the bad guy.

B

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RE: Electronic Warfare Friendly Fire? - 5/28/2021 6:09:24 PM   
jmlima

 

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Strategically and operationally, you need to look at things that should happen before that such as network and digital-infrastructure attacks, etc. That's where the real EW happens. Nowadays chaff, etc are tactical devices.

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RE: Electronic Warfare Friendly Fire? - 5/28/2021 10:18:22 PM   
dcpollay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BDukes

Just FYI there is DECM chaff and chaff clouds. Check out the TU-16P Badger H, Tu-22KD Blinder B for example. Set them to a support mission they will drop a chaff cloud line that will descend slowly.





Interesting to know. I learned something new today, can I have a drink now?

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RE: Electronic Warfare Friendly Fire? - 5/29/2021 3:38:52 PM   
SeaQueen


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quote:

ORIGINAL: stww2
1) In real life, how does jamming impact friendly radar and communications? If there is no impact, how is this avoided? If it does have an impact, how is this mitigated? (I assume the exact answers depend on the specific equipment employed)


It depends. Certainly in real life planning electromagnetic deconfliction is a concern. There are many factors that go into that kind of planning. Many radars have built into them electronic protection measures (ECCM) that are intended to mitigate the effects of jamming, that includes our own. Also, jamming beams tend to be highly directional, which means unless you're looking into the beam they don't effect you very much. Part of planning would be positioning things so that the aircraft that need to see aren't looking to the jamming beams. Not all aircraft with jamming and radar can use them both simultaneously because the ECM will interfere with their own radar. "Jam-while-shoot" is actually a very sophisticated capability, and it works by electronically making sure the two systems aren't stepping on each other. Not all aircraft can do it. Also, jamming tends to be very specific to the jamming target and depends heavily on the technical characteristics of the jamming target. If you're not the jamming target (or at least not similar to the jamming target), it won't effect you because you're not the system the jamming signal has been tailored to. There's lots of different dimensions that might result in a mismatch. It gets enormously technical.

quote:


2) Depending on the answers to above, to what extent is this reflected in CMO? To what extent should it be? How could such issues (if they exist) be modelled with existing tools?


It isn't really. Electromagnetic deconfliction is assumed away. I'm not sure there's a good way to model it, though.


< Message edited by SeaQueen -- 5/31/2021 5:47:02 PM >

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RE: Electronic Warfare Friendly Fire? - 5/30/2021 7:34:08 PM   
stww2

 

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Thanks for the responses everyone!

Based on what everyone has said, it seems like the only time in CMO where friendly ECM interfering with friendly radars might possibly make sense would be with the chaff clouds mentioned by BDukes. But those loadouts are such a rarity (I've only ever seen one scenario where such loadouts were available) that this seems like a non-issue in my book.

< Message edited by stww2 -- 5/30/2021 9:59:39 PM >

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RE: Electronic Warfare Friendly Fire? - 5/31/2021 2:47:05 PM   
Sardaukar


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Chaff clouds were used extensively in Vietnam war later B-52 raids by dedicated B-52 "chaff bombers".

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RE: Electronic Warfare Friendly Fire? - 5/31/2021 2:53:19 PM   
stww2

 

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Sounds like a good premise for a scenario...



(Actually, the one scenario in which I've seen chaff clouds used was in a B-52 Vietnam scenario, although the player controlled USN and USAF supporting forces, not the B-52's themselves.)

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RE: Electronic Warfare Friendly Fire? - 5/31/2021 3:11:49 PM   
BDukes

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: stww2

Thanks for the responses everyone!

Based on what everyone has said, it seems like the only time in CMO where friendly ECM interfering with friendly radars might possibly make sense would be with the chaff clouds mentioned by BDukes. But those loadouts are such a rarity (I've only ever seen one scenario where such loadouts were available) that this seems like a non-issue in my book.


You were making a very smart observation! My work is now supporting sonar engineering and it's a thing.

The catch is a game-design challenge, in that sometimes you can't model things 100% without making your game unapproachable to the 80%. This is important if you don't want to be eating government cheese up until you get the big government contract.

Chaff is timeless. As Sardaukar pointed out it was mostly a Vietnam-era thing but it still comes up (or down rather).

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/25438/huge-chaff-cloud-that-lit-up-radars-as-it-drifted-across-the-midwest-remains-a-myster

Thanks

Mike





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RE: Electronic Warfare Friendly Fire? - 5/31/2021 5:53:32 PM   
AKar

 

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There is no inherent immunity against friendly ECM. Depending on exact method used, the more advanced ones are capable of acting against specific emitter types, however, more... brute force approaches rely more on jamming being directional, effectively radiated towards the enemy systems, but this can still cause issues on friendly systems as well.

When cleverly selected, advanced ECM techniques can, in principle, be rather powerful against the enemy and almost completely harmless against the friendly systems. However, this would require very good understanding of the enemy systems probably encountered to precisely affect them adversely while sparing the own ones. In practice, this would likely limit the use of this into specific, high priority operations that can afford the element of surprise and all the necessary intel.

Recall, being specific against the enemy emitters that we are willing to jam allows the enemy to use that specificity against us as well, by altering those very specific characteristics of the system enough for the jamming system not being specific-enough anymore in selectivity against that very system. Also, militaries are expected to have 'for-shooting-war-only' modes in their most important radar systems as a simple measure to avoid too easy emitter-specific ECM against them.

The latest developments in processing power and in things such as AI could have opened up some interesting approaches in how to interfere with specific emitters in clever ways, however, I have not studied the fields related to those topics enough to throw any generic thoughts whatsoever with practical sense at all.

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