Army units are expected to receive electronic warfare systems in 2019 equipped with new artificial intelligence algorithms to help them more accurately understand signals within the electromagnetic spectrum.

A competition over summer 2018 put best-of-breed industry solutions to the test to better classify signals in the increasingly crowded spectrum, and the Army is now inserting these features into EW prototypes, according to a release. Select units will begin fielding these systems in August.

The Army organized the competition to fill gaps observed following the delivery of its first EW systems to address escalating Russian systems in Europe.

“When the Army delivered electronic warfare prototypes to soldiers in Europe earlier this year, we enhanced the sensor footprint for [electronic warfare officers] to track friendly and enemy signals, but we also increased the amount of data they were seeing,” said Rob Monto, the director of the Army Rapid Capabilities Office Emerging Technologies Office.

“That data, which comes from commercial Wi-Fi, cellphones and satellites, as well as military systems, is continuously increasing. So we wanted to look at what emerging technologies could be applied to help soldiers filter to what matters and speed up the operational response.”

The Army’s Rapid Capabilities Office is now working on a series of data collection and technical exchange events to further evaluate performance and integration of the AI and machine-learning applications for product development and deployment, the Army said.

The team has already integrated an AI framework into the sensor-processing hardware for the Tactical Electronic Warfare System. The Army said the framework concept can be scaled to additional platforms and systems.

The next step for the RCO will be working with vendors and electronic warfare officers during evaluations, which includes data generation, collection and algorithm testing that will take place at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. This event is planned for early to mid 2019 and will lead to fielding new technology to an operational unit later that year.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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