Plans are afoot to strengthen the US Army’s electronic warfare posture in the Pacific to disrupt People’s Liberation Army communications during any future conflict.
Recent media reports said that US Army will receive two dedicated electronic warfare; one of which will be stationed near the South China Sea. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has several competing territorial and maritime claims with neighbouring countries in this stretch of water.
Further details regarding the composition of these electronic warfare units has not been revealed. Nonetheless, the move mirrors similar enhancements of the US Army’s electronic warfare posture in Europe.
Tactical Electronic Warfare System
In 2018 the US Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vilseck, southeast Germany and 2nd Armoured Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division based in Fort Riley, Kansas began to receive new General Dynamics Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS) and Tactical Electronic Warfare System Light (TEWS-L) platforms.
The TEWS uses a General Dynamics M-1133 Stryker series eight-wheel drive armoured fighting vehicle while the TEWS-L is carried by a General Dynamics Flyer-72 four-wheel drive vehicle. Sources note that the TEWS platforms can perform electronic/cyber attack and electronic support. While wavebands have not been revealed these almost certainly cover frequencies of at least 30 megahertz to three gigahertz. This would allow the TEWS to attack hostile very/ultra high frequency communications. The TEWS-L is confined to performing electronic support.
The US Defence Intelligence Agency’s 2019 report on PRC military power emphasised that the PLA is investing in Command and Control (C2) technology and communications networks. Both would be targets for US Army electronic warfare units in the region during any future war with the PRC.
These US Army units are also thought to possess Raytheon’s Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool used for the planning, C2 and assessment of electronic/cyber attacks, and its Raven Claw laptop based counterpart.
The concept of operations could see the EWPMT deployed at the headquarters level receiving electronic support information from the TEWS/L units. The highly mobile TEWS-L could gather this information at the tactical level, notably at the forward edge of the battle area, with the TEWS performing a similar task at tactical/operational levels. The EWPMT could then task the TEWS to perform electronic/cyber attacks using this information during the scheme of manoeuvre with both the TEWS and TEWS-L platforms employing the Raven Claw software assist their missions.
It is possible that the new US Army units mooted for the Pacific will include TEWS/L and EWPMT/Raven Claw C2 equipment forward-deployed with US Army elements in Japan and/or the Republic of Korea. Reports state that the units are expected to deploy from 2021.