IED jamming systems

IED jamming systems

Improvised explosive device (IED) or Remote Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) jamming systems are electronics-based radio frequency (RF) communication systems categorized as an electronic warfare (EW) countermeasure device designed to transmit a variety of commonly used commercial and/or military frequencies (20-3000MHz) at relatively high power (1-500W) and modulated also in a variety of commonly used commercial and/or military techniques such that the electromagnetic energy emitted interferes with the normal operation of a variety of intended and unintended targets. The intended targets are tuned receivers, ad-hoc integrated in the system, that are sensitive to trigger at a particular RF frequency and modulation technique on the front end of an explosive device or bomb. Unintended known targets can be avoided by the use of band-pass filter in the jammer. A jamming system may include an interference generator, amplifier, antenna, and computer hardware and software support.

Since 2001, improvised explosive devices (roadside bombs and suicide car bombs) have been responsible for many of the combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. IEDs are used to strike police stations, markets, and mosques, killing citizens and U.S. troops. There is a wide variety of IED jamming systems. However, because of the fact that IEDs are ad-hoc constructed or improvised in theater, these devices often use cell phones as the receiver at the front end of the bomb. Hence, jamming systems are meant to interfere with the normal operation of cellular communication (mobile phone) channels to prevent detonation of the bomb. Targets include but not limited to VHF, UHF, satellite phones, pre-cellular technologies, AMPS (1G), GSM (2G), CDMA2000 (3G), UMTS (3G and pre-4G), and vast assortment of analog and digital modulation. A low-power handheld jammer might include but not be limited to capabilities for Nextel, AMPS, TACS, NMT, GSM, DCS, CDMA, PDC, TDMA, PHS, IDEN, W-CDMA, UMTS, 3G - 800-964 MHz 890-964 MHz 1.700-2.200 MHz

By jamming non-military frequencies, the threat of IED’s activated through civilian frequencies, such as cell phones, pagers, and walkie-talkies are significantly reduced. This is important, because components that broadcast over civilian frequencies are likely those which terrorists have the greatest access. But because insurgents quickly adapt to countermeasures, new and more sophisticated IEDs are increasingly being used in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Recent trends show a decrease in the number of IED attacks in Iraq since June 2007, but an increase in the number of effective IED attacks in Afghanistan. There is growing concern that IEDs might eventually be used by other insurgents and terrorists worldwide.

IED jammers are also known as Counter Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (CREW) systems. CREW systems include IED Countermeasures Equipment (ICE) and the Warlock, both use RF energy to block the signals of radio control (R/C) explosives detonators, such as cell phones, satellite phones, and long-range cordless telephones. Other countermeasures include the Joint IED Neutralizer (JIN) and the Neutralizing Improvised Explosive Devices with Radio Frequency (NIRF), which produce a high-frequency field to neutralize IED electronics. A system now deployed in Iraq, code-named PING, fits inside a Humvee and sends out electromagnetic waves to penetrate the walls of buildings to detect IEDs. Other sensors, such as the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy system (LIBS), detect traces of explosives used for IEDs from as far away as 30 meters.

The Warlock Force Protection System (versions Blue, Green, and Red) and the Shortstop Electronic Protection System are jamming systems designed by EDO (now ITT Electronic Systems, EWS) and Whittaker Corporation, respectively. Originally designed to defeat proximity fused indirect fire munitions, Warlock has a dual capability to deny the use of enemy communication devices. Warlock Red is a low-cost jammer to counter specific threats that have been emerging in increasing numbers. Warlock Green is a more capable jammer used to address more sophisticated threat systems. The Warlock has gone through many revisions, to add more frequencies and better software. Older systems such as Shortstop weight over 40 pounds excluding power source and occupy 1.5 cubic feet.

References


* [http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RS22330_20071121.pdf "Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)in Iraq and Afghanistan:Effects and Countermeasures"] , CRS Report for Congress, November 21, 2007.
* [http://www.army-technology.com/contractors/jamming/gallery.html Electronic Warfare and Jamming Systems] .
* Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Iraq: Effects and Countermeasures. DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER.


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