Thursday, October 08, 2015

In the coming EW war between the U.S. and Russia, the Americans will lose and lose badly. by Wayne Madsen

In the coming EW war between the U.S. and Russia, the Americans will lose and lose badly.
by Wayne Madsen

The latest neocon war proposal oozing forth from the right-wing think tanks in Washington is that there are serious discussions within the Pentagon, talks that include Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, to stymie Russia's Middle East military operations by waging an electronic warfare (EW) campaign against Russian air, naval, and ground forces in Syria. If Moscow approves Iraq's request for intervention in that country, the neocons want the U.S. EW campaign, which would include cyber-attacks, extended to Iraq, as well.

The neocons may want to engage Russia on the electronic battlefield but, according to National Security Agency insiders, the U.S. ability to wage an effective EW campaign is severely handicapped by former NSA director General Michael Hayden's decision to distribute NSA functions to various regional NSA facilities around the United States. This move was originally undertaken by Hayden's TRAILBLAZER project, a program that was eventually canceled after $1.2 was wasted on it.

NSA's main electronic warfare emitter signature databases, one code named KILTING and the other known as the Emitter Parameter List (EPL), were, as part of the NSA distribution of functions, split up between NSA Washington in Fort Meade, Maryland, and NSA Colorado in Aurora and NSA Texas in San Antonio. This distribution of NSA's operations has, according to the insiders, resulted in incorrect and outdated emitter data from databases maintained on Russian radar systems, avionics, telemetry, and other signal sources. Much of the KILTING data involves emitter data from Soviet military systems no longer used by the Russian military.

The Russians, on the other hand, have deployed to Syria advanced EW systems capable of jamming U.S. radar and electronic warfare, electronic surveillance, and electronic countermeasure systems. These systems are deployed on platforms like the IL-20 surveillance aircraft; the mobile Krashuka-4 land-based electronic warfare system that, among other things, can disrupt low-Earth orbit satellites and jam signals in a 250-square mile area; drones outfitted with EW pods, and Navy ships capable of waging technologically-advanced EW and signals intelligence collection. These systems would be devastating against NATO air units, including "stealth" aircraft, that are ordered to come to the assistance of the Saudi- and Qatari-funded jihadist rebels by enforcing a NATO "no-fly zone" over Syria.

The fact that the Russians, who spend only one-tenth of what the United States spends on defense, are able to outmaneuver the United States on the electronic battlefield, is a testament to the graft and corruption in the U.S. military-industrial complex, with companies like Lockheed Martin and SAIC enriching themselves with little or nothing in the Pentagon's quiver of electronic weapons to show for it.

NATO forces will be no match against Russian EW systems like the Krasukha-4 [above]. NATO EW systems rely on outdated emitter data from the NSA that is over 30 years old.

In 2005, WMR detailed the weaknesses of U.S. EW capabilities. The situation, according to our sources, has not greatly improved in the last 10 years:

Operators in U.S. electronic warfare aircraft rely on NSA to provide accurate electronic intelligence (ELINT) data in order to program their radar warning receivers and jamming pods. However, NSA data, provided from two databases known as EPL (Emitter Parameter List) and "Kilting." 70 percent of NSA's ELINT data is 30 years old. NSA management has forced field operators to use raw ELINT intercept data, culled from a database called "Wrangler," to program their ELINT systems. NSA operations and software engineers believe this function should be handled by NSA and not the "warfighters."  Updated ELINT data is handled by ELINT Technical Reports or "ELTs." In 2003, the year the Iraq war started, there were 938 ELTs submitted on new emitter data. However, there were only 200 updates made to the ELINT databases.

The failure to update the ELINT databases may have had disastrous consequences in Iraq. For example, EPL and Kilting do not contain data on air traffic control radars and microwave communications links. Because current ELINT systems cannot differentiate between commercial signals and hostile target tracking emitters, U.S. forces in Iraq have launched attacks on non-threat targets in the belief they were hostile. NSA sources report that many of the cases of fratricide in Iraq has been due to faulty or old ELINT data. For example, the failure by NSA to update ELINT data and provide emitter parameter data to warfighting units led to the accidental shoot down by a Patriot missile of a British Royal Air Force Tornado fighter in March 2003 near the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border at the outset of the Iraq campaign. Two British crew members were killed. The ELINT data used by the Patriot misidentified the Tornado as an enemy missile and the U.S. Army blamed the British crew for the mistake, claiming they failed to switch on its Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) equipment. NSA insiders claim that allegation was false. They claim that "blue signals" (friendly) are not adequately included in the emitter data sent to field units by NSA and that claims by the Pentagon that the Tornado was shot down due to pilot error were false.
In other incidents, the radar warning receivers (RWRs) on U.S. F-16s flying over Iraq have either evaded or fired AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range, Air-to-Air) missiles on microwave communications towers because the microwave signals were identified as threat emitters from hostile aircraft. U.S. jammers are also adversely affected by the failure to update ELINT data.With aviation fire control systems so automated by the use of computers, incorrect or outdated emitter data may continue to have disastrous effects on the battlefield, including the recent unprovoked U.S. attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz.

The Pentagon recognizes that it is behind the eight ball when it comes to facing off against Russia on an electronic warfare battle. The Defense Department's planned
Multi-Function Electronic Warfare system (MFEW), the closest platform that matches Russia's Krasukha-4, is not expected to become fully operational until 2027.