Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Electronic Warfare Support 2020-06-17

Attaining data supremacy is crucial for military decision making. The frequently involved electromagnetic spectrum is a fundamental source of data for tactical and strategic intelligence. A Sigint system is a part of what makes the collection of data possible. In this article, you’ll get to learn how SIGINT functions and why it is crucial, primarily since it serves in electronic warfare support.

What Is SIGINT?

Signals IntelligenceSignals Intelligence is the capture of signals for collecting data and is divided into three sub-disciplines. These groups include Communications Intelligence (COMINT), Electronics Intelligence (ELINT), and Foreign Instrumentation Signals Intelligence (Fisint). COMINT is the capture of interaction between groups or individuals. ELINT deals with the gathering of electronic signals, not specifically for communication. Lastly, FISINT is the gathering of signals made by the use and testing of new weapon systems.

The use of SIGINT is traceable back to World War I. During that period, the British forces started gathering German radio conversations to get knowledge of their plots and extra information. This tactic led to the use of cryptography to camouflage the content of radio transmissions. Because of this change, cryptanalysis was made a fundamental part of signals intelligence.

With the increasing advancements in technology, the SIGINT field has had some improvements. In the US, the military gets signals intelligence via (UAVs), unmanned aerial vehicles. Such vehicles include Reaper drones and the Global Hawk. These devices are usually fit powerful tools to help them gather the information needed.

A more straightforward example of modern signals intelligence capabilities is the gathering of electronic communications data by the National Security Agency. When raw signals intelligence is collected, it is interpreted or represented into data that is useful in decision making for intelligence and security agencies.

Application to Electronic Warfare

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Electronic Warfare (EW) refers to military actions, including the utilization of the electromagnetic spectrum. EW aims to improve the efficacy of friendly forces to obtain and utilize the spectrum while hindering the enemy’s chances of doing the same. The signals intercepted can be used in the following ways:

Strategic Use

By observing the use of emitters, heads can make imperative choices on engaging force intent. For instance, by observing the usage and location of communications systems, it is clear to calculate the enemy’s movements and build future defensive or offensive operations.

ii. Tactical Use

The real-time spectrum intelligence helps troops be aware at all times. In case of any threats, the systems can be monitored to provide information to friendly forces. This is an excellent way for the troops to prioritize potential threats and respond to them in real-time.

There are several ways to use these intelligence systems. Nonetheless, the two uses mentioned above should give clear examples of how SIGINT is used in electronic warfare support.

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