Air Force Team To Study Future Needs For Electronic Warfare

The U.S. Air Force is forming a team to examine how the service should improve its electronic warfare (EW) capabilities to stay ahead of potential enemies in that key area.

The Air Force is writing the charter for the enterprise capability collaboration team (ECCT) and expects to have the entity up and running by year’s end, said Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson, who oversees the effort. Over 12 to 15 months, the team will conduct a “deep dive” on EW and develop a roadmap to guide future EW spending decisions.

An EC-130H Compass Call flies a training mission over Lake Mead, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force Photo)

An EC-130H Compass Call flies a training mission over Lake Mead, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force Photo)

"I think it's long overdue," said Wilson, who spoke Nov. 28 at an Association of Old Crows symposium. "In the future fights, he that dominates the [electromagnetic] spectrum wins. It's really important. I know that's where our adversaries are focused."

The Air Force plans to seek input from non-Air Force experts, including those in other military services, allied forces, industry and academia.

“There will be a big, wide net that we cast as we work about this really important area,” Wilson said.

The team will build on the work of the Pentagon’s two-year-old EW Executive Committee, which is designed to increase the Defense Department’s focus on EW (Defense Daily, April 10, 2015). Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord chair the EW Excom, which has met “several times” and is gearing up for another meeting, Wilson said.

“I’m getting lots of taskings coming out of the EW Excom, but I’m actually happy to take those on because I think we’re able to move the ball forward,” he said.

The EW ECCT will be the Air Force’s third ECCT. Previous ones examined how to maintain air superiority in 2030 and how to improve multi-domain command and control.

The creation of the EW ECCT comes as the Air Force is developing the EC-X, a modified General Dynamics [GD] Gulfstream G550 business jet, to replace its aging EC-130H Compass Call electronic-attack aircraft. The program, whose system integrator is L3 Technologies [LLL], underwent a preliminary design review in September (Defense Daily, Oct. 13).

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