The Army continues to test new equipment to expand its electronic warfare capabilities.
If the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool (EWPMT) brings the Electromagnetic spectrum into the Military Decision-making Process (MDMP), Raven Claw accelerates future EWPMT capabilities and adds much needed detail to the Electromagnetic spectrum portion of the Common Operating Picture (COP) in support of synchronized operations.
Raven Claw, built on the foundational components of EWPMT Capability Drop 1 and 2, was conceived during EW experimentation at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and designed – using direct user feedback from Electronic Warfare personnel – to work networked or in a Disconnected, Intermittent or Latent (DIL) environment. This means it doesn’t depend on a host server or external data, but rather can function on its own with last known data and real-time feeds from sensors providing electronic support to do its work. Raven Claw is contained in a ruggedized military laptop – for now – that integrates with other Army systems until an appropriate hosting environment is introduced into Army formations.
“The Raven Claw does a lot for us; it’s your window to the sensors in the field, it gives you information for analysis, it feeds real time, actionable intel,” said Sgt. 1st Class Steve Schoyen, an EW noncommissioned officer (EW NCO). “That develops the commander’s common operating picture. The Raven Claw can also do modeling and simulation. You’re able to help feed your S2 and validate or help them change their enemy Situational Template (SITTEMP) as to what they believe would be the most likely or most deadly [dangerous] course of action, also in real time because of that real time actionable intel.”
Schoyen was part of a test of the Raven Claw system in Yuma, Arizona. He is stationed with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, where the temperature regularly dips well below zero Fahrenheit or Celsius.
However, RF Signatures are not affected by temperature. In desert heat or arctic cold, they are ever present. Anyone using radios will have a “signal footprint,” in any environment.
“All this technology we have for sensing emitters? We aren’t the only ones that have it,” said Capt. Kevin Voss, the Assistant Product Manager for EWPMT, Product Manager Electronic Warfare Integration (PdM EWI), under Program Executive Office Intelligence Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S). “Everybody is going to have it, so if the commander can see what [his digital footprint] looks like, that also feeds into future potential projects as to what else we can use help to do some disguising the footprint or creating a false Tactical Operations Center in a different environment.”
The Command Post (CP) is merely one place to have a Raven Claw system, as it “plays well with others.” There is automated communication between Raven Claw systems, which means that if one is located in a tactical operations center and another is mounted on a vehicle, they can provide near real-time updates to each other. It also has the ability to interface with Sabre Fury, a modified version of the DUKE V4/V5 EW system, a key component of mobility and communication that is installed on vehicles, can be used with Raven Claw for Electronic Defense and Attack.
“It’s important to have that,” said Schoyen. “Things move so fast you need to have that kind of information sharing relationship both in your cell and with the [intelligence shop] and [operations shop] and your fellow targeteers in the fire shop.”
“Mobility is kind of the thing we do; it allows you to position your sensors and to pretty much get the best line of sight that you can against emitters and also with your own sensors,” said Staff Sgt. David Delgado, a former Navy EW technician turned Army, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, also out of Fort Wainwright.
Delgado said he has high hopes for the fielding of Raven Claw.
“At the brigade level, I’m hoping within the next three years we have organic equipment,” Delgado said. “Electronic warfare isn’t new. It’s now come back over the past seven years for the Regular Army.”
The system will be fielded to Army units in Europe in the early months of 2018, a fact that has Col. Marty Hagenston, the Project Manager for Electronic Warfare & Cyber, enthusiastic.
“The appetite for long programs is over,” said Hagenston. “We’ve got to make sure that we take advantage of all opportunities to get capability out as soon as it’s ready as quick as we can.”
“This month [January] we field Raven Claw 1 to Europe,” said Hagenston, adding that “Raven Claw 1 builds upon the software foundation of the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management program of record that allows us to deliver operational needs based capabilities as soon as they are tested and ready.”.
“The operational based capabilities stemming from immediate theater requirements have given us the opportunity to change the program of record path from development through testing and support to craft a more adaptive program that can accommodate direct user feedback and changes in the operational environment.
“In fact,” he continued, “in coordination with the stakeholders, we intend to skip the planned, limited fielding of the early capability drops and replace them with a more capable Raven Claw 1 and Raven Claw 2. Raven Claw 2 is underway now with a planned deployment as early as 2019.”
By John Higgins, PEO IEW&S