Monday, March 26, 2012

Air Force Electronic Attack and Cyber

Good article on Aviation Space and Week a few days ago I had to share. Not surprisingly, it was written by David Fulghum, who wrote several other articles in the past I've referenced in the IW area. He does a great job finding interesting, unclassified stuff to write about in the DoD and IO/IW/EW community activities, although it is not always easy to substantiate.

The article quotes several senior AF executives describing aircraft-oriented attack technologies by the USAF and other countries (namely China and Russia). I'll quote them below:
The Air Force is pursuing “cyber-methods to defeat aircraft,” Gen. Norton Schwartz, the service’s chief of staff, told attendees at the 2012 Credit Suisse and McAleese Associates Defense Programs conference in Washington March 8. But Lt. Gen. Herbert Carlisle, the deputy chief of staff for operations, says the same threat to U.S. aircraft already is “out there.”
Ashton Carter, deputy secretary of defense, is pushing both offensive and defensive network-attack skills and technology. “I’m not remotely satisfied” with the Pentagon’s cyber-capabilities, Carter says.
“The Russians and the Chinese have designed specific electronic warfare platforms to go after all our high-value assets,” Carlisle says. “Electronic attack can be the method of penetrating a system to implant viruses. You’ve got to find a way into the workings of that [target] system, and generally that’s through some sort of emitted signal.”
The Chinese have electronic attack means — both ground-based and aircraft-mounted — specifically designed to attack E-3 AWACS, E-8 Joint Stars and P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, he says.
Interesting comments. First, if they are really interested in "cyber methods to defeat aircraft". Second, that he would think stating that goal at the Credit Suisse and co. conference was a good idea. Third, that Ash Carter's not "remotely satisfied" with our cyber capabilities. And fourth, that Herbert Carlisle claims the Russians and Chinese have already designed platforms to attack "all our high value assets".

The article goes on to rehash earlier claims regarding USAF airborne attack capabilities. Wikipedia summarizes those using the three previously mentioned articles from Aviation Space and Week, and two others here. There are two even more detailed articles on the topic, mostly expanding the events in Syria in Air Force Technology that I'd not seen before. You can find part one here and two here.  

While reading Fulghum's article I also read a couple of new ones he wrote on NGJ, including a focus on autonomous platforms and info on weapons/AESA radars. I updated my Navy Airborne Electronic Attack post accordingly.

It all reminds me of that saying, "May you live in interesting times." I'd say that's accurate and only accelerating!