Electronic Warfare Simulation and Training

Electronic Warfare?

What in the world is Electronic Warfare? In the Radar portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, Electronic Warfare is the passive reception and identification of Radar signals. Everybody uses radar these days. So, a great way to figure out who's out there in the battlefield is to listen for radar signals up in the microwave bands. Radar signals are very distinctive, consisting of pulses that have a certain width (Pulse Width or PW) and a certain repetition frequency (Pulse Repetition Frequency or PRF, also known as Pulse Repetition Interval or PRI). Given the frequency within the microwave bands (the Radio Frequency or RF), the Pulse Width and the PRF/PRI, one can get a really good idea who's out there and what they are doing.

Radar scan types are another way to figure out the kind of platform (ship, submarine, aircraft) you are receiving. The most common scan type is the circular scan. This is a simple search radar that goes around and around scanning in a circle (hence the name circular). There are many other types of scans and this information is also used to determine who's out there and what they might be doing.


Electronic warfare simulators and trainers are designed to simulate an electromagnetic environment through a combination of platforms and emitters on those platforms. Students can then operate simulated receiver equipment that behaves like the real thing. Their goal is to find and identify signals, especially threats to the platform they are on. As in any simulation system, trade-offs are made in terms of performance and quality. Today's CPUs keep getting faster, so performance improvements are easier to come by as is higher quality simulation.

An example of a performance/quality trade-off is treating the world in two dimensions instead of three. This is a significant reduction in calculations needed to figure out how a radar will sound at the receiver. Unfortunately, it means that some aspects, particularly scan types will not be represented as accurately as with a three dimensional model. However, for a sea-based simulation where the ownship (receiver's platform) is a boat, as are most of the rest of the players, this tradeoff is actually quite a good idea.


Here is a list of Electronic Warfare books and my thoughts about the ones I've actually read.

Skolnik - Intro to Radar Systems
This one is mainly for Radar engineers. Fantastic book. Surveys all the various types of radar systems and how they work. EE degree recommended with an emphasis in RF engineering. I have a degree in Mathematics. I was totally lost.

Skolnik - Radar Handbook
I have this one, but I haven't read it.

Adamy - Introduction to Electronic Warfare Modeling and Simulation
Vakin et al - Fundamentals of Electronic Warfare (Artech House Radar Library)
Adamy - EW 101: A First Course in Electronic Warfare (Artech House Radar Library)
Vaccaro - Electronic Warfare Receiver Systems (Radar Library)
Goj - Synthetic-Aperture Radar and Electronic Warfare
Schlesinger et al. - Principles of Electronic Warfare
Price, Alfred - The History of US Electronic Warfare (three volumes) (published by AOC)
Schleher - Introduction to Electronic Warfare


RDSI - Research and Development Solutions, Inc., electronic warfare simulation and training software. Makers of EWPro training software which includes AN/WLR-8, AN/SLQ-32, AN/ULQ-16, and digital oscilloscope emulators. RDSI also makes M/Pulse, a card capable of generating Audio, Video, IF, and RF that can be driven by EWPro's scenario generator. The output of the M/Pulse card can then be used to drive EW receivers. Learning to identify threats has never been so much fun. Some more product info.

Space & Electronic Warfare Lexicon - All the terminology you can possibly handle. And then some.

Electronic Warfare and Radar Systems Engineering Handbook - Heavy stuff, not for the weak of mind. Background in Math or Electrical Engineering a plus.

Green Bay Professional Packet Radio - Build your own jammers using parts from old TV sets! Lots of interesting EW links, and some EW calculators.

The Wizard War: WW2 & The Origins Of Radar - Good public domain text covering radar in WW2. Includes chapters on EW. Also check out Introduction To Radar Technology from the same author which includes a brief discussion of countermeasures.

Association of Old Crows - Electronic Warfare professional association.

Journal of Electronic Defense - Association of Old Crow's magazine covering EW.

Electronic Warfare and Me

The following is silly. Read at your own risk. It is inspired and somewhat blatantly stolen from articles that I read in Creative Computing or 80 Micro magazine back in the 80's. If anyone recognizes the stories, I'd be happy if they'd send me a pointer to the original articles.

As a small child, I used to dream of bouncing radar signals off the moon using parts from an old TV set. I remember being able to judge voltage based on the way it felt to my fingertips. 300 volts would give a strong rush. Well, it didn't take much for me to make the jump from bouncing signals off the moon (and feeling the insides of TV sets) to wanting control over the entire electromagnetic spectrum. My first experiments involved a carbon-gap transmitter which successfully blocked reception of AM radio signals within 2 feet. Then I figured out that if you placed an AM radio anywhere near a computer, you would hear lots of static. I then fashioned an AM transmitter from a Radio Shack kit, and went on the air. Well, on the air as long as you were a few feet away from the transmitter. When I got to college, I was on my college's radio station, WSMC (illegal call-letters, actually). This was the first time I actually felt the power (other than from inside the TV set), although it was carrier current, and no one ever listened.

Now, in my old age, I have to avoid these sorts of experiments. Although still, to this very day, I do occasionally turn on all the computer monitors in the house, and note the deterioration in radio reception. Sometimes I even pick up the cordless phone, make a call, then turn on the microwave oven. It's a feeling of power that I cannot describe.

Green Bay Professional Packet Radio - Build your own jammers using parts from old TV sets! Oh, if only they would have had this site when I was a kid! I would have been in heaven. The burn marks in my hands from the soldering iron (let alone from feeling the insides of TV sets) would have numbered in the millions! Lots of interesting EW links, and some EW calculators. I've always wondered how much path loss I would have in an urban area. Now I finally know. My life is complete.

Skolnik - Radar Handbook
I have this one, but I haven't had the guts to read it. I'm afraid it will cause me to turn on the microwave oven... While it is open... Bypassing the safety interlock. Gosh yes!

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Copyright ©2004, Ted Felix