The spectrum warfare research division of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/RYW) at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio is looking for novel approaches to electronic warfare (EW) under the Radio Frequency Electronic Warfare Focused Laboratory Evaluations of Critical Technologies (REFLECT) solicitation.

“AFRL/RYW has a need to investigate and develop methodologies, tools, techniques, and capabilities to identify susceptibilities and mitigate vulnerabilities in avionics systems, protect those systems against cyber-attack, provide simulation capabilities required to develop, mature and transition advanced sensor and avionics technologies, develop platform architecture technologies that enable revolutionary and agile capabilities, and expand emerging open system architecture standards and approaches for existing and next-generation Air Force and DoD weapon systems in multi-domain environments,” AFRL/RYW said in an Apr. 24 business notice.

AFRL/RYW aims to develop U.S. aircraft technologies to permit mission execution in electromagnetic environments that pose threats to U.S. aircraft.

The goal of REFLECT “is to explore new and emerging concepts related to development, integration, assessment, evaluation, and demonstration of cyber security, open system architecture (OSA), novel avionics and sensor technologies, and multi-domain technologies,” per the request for white papers and an estimate of costs. “For this solicitation, avionics is defined to include manned, unmanned, autonomous, and remotely piloted vehicles, on-board Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems, electronic warfare systems, munitions, and any equipment, component, or subsystem that could compromise mission assurance of the Air Force weapon system or tactical platform.”

In a response to industry questions on the solicitation, AFRL/RYW said that the threat models included in the Statement of Objectives are Electronic Warfare Integrated Reprogramming (EWIR), Threat Modeling and Analysis Program (TMAP), the STIMS3 architecture, and CREST.

New EW approaches may reduce the misidentification of some background RF signals as threats–a “Mis-ID” that results in display clutter and lower EW system effectiveness.

Air Force leaders, including Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and the head of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mark Kelly, are emphasizing non-kinetic means to counter advanced integrated air defense systems of potential U.S. adversaries (Defense Daily, March 22).

According to the Air Force’s fiscal 2024 budget, the service plans to complete the Radio Frequency Electronic Warfare (RF EW) Demonstrator effort over the next year and deliver a “software-centric cognitive electromagnetic warfare-based rapid reprogramming system” to the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., “to improve next sortie reprogramming capability against complex emitters,” per the service’s research and development request.

“These deliverables include cognitive electromagnetic warfare applications integrated into an onstation system to support electromagnetic spectrum maneuverability and data analytics and visualization tools to assess system performance for reprogramming,” the service said.

The Air Force wants nearly $13 million for the demonstrator effort in fiscal 2024, almost $5 million more than appropriated last year, “due to increased emphasis of close collaboration with the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing for electronic warfare efforts,” the service said.

Technologies under development include cognitive and autonomous EW against multi-spectral threats.

In June 2021, the Air Force stood up the 

350th Spectrum Warfare Wing under ACC to focus on offensive EW and consolidate all Air Force electromagnetic spectrum efforts (Defense Daily, June 25, 2021).