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US Navy seeks help in developing e-warfare systems

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The US Navy is looking for help from the IT industry to develop technologies that can block mobile phone signals or broadcast transmissions.

The request from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is part of plans to develop so-called next generation electronic warfare capabilities, extending existing technologies to cover a broader range of frequencies and types of network.

Instead of just blocking military frequencies, the Navy wants to add the ability to locate, track, and counter broadcast transmissions associated with civilian broadcast and communications networks. Once developed, it plans to outfit EA6B Prowler aircraft with the technology, Federal Communications Week (FCW) reports.

The goal of electronic warfare is to deny communication and control capabilities to enemy forces while allowing friendly forces to communicate normally. In insurgency conflicts and anti-terrorism operations, that translates to the ability to prevent explosives being denoted remotely by radio jamming techniques without impeding troop use of tactical communication systems.

But beyond looking for jamming techniques that operate within a particular frequency band, the Navy is seeking industry tenders to develop technologies that might be applied to mobile phone networks; the spread-spectrum, frequency hopping technologies used in battlefield comms; and Wi-Fi systems. Electronic warfare systems that work in the 18-40 GHz networks used by satellite communications are also needed, FCW adds.

The Navy's research arm is also looking for industry assistance in conducting field trials of proposed systems. IT firms are invited to file response to the Navy's request (PDF) by 14 May. ®

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