Electronic warfare from a laptop
Raytheon's Raven Claw tool helps the U.S. Army own the EW spectrum
You need more than good Wi-Fi for electronic warfare.
Effective EW -- conflict in the electromagnetic spectrum -- relies on a complicated mix of signals, data and critical decisions. Yet operators can find themselves in locations with fragmented connections, or in some cases, no connections at all. That can shut them off from the comms and data they need to make immediate, informed decisions, a bad situation made worse by the heavy investment the enemy may have made in their own EW technology.
The U.S. Army recently enlisted Raytheon's help in the European theater. The end result was Raven Claw, a mobile version of the Army’s program of record, Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool. The tool helps operators control signals in the field even without a host server or reliable connection to external data.
EWPMT and Raven Claw "does more than just planning; it remotely controls EW systems,” said Travis Slocumb, vice president of Raytheon Electronic Warfare Systems. “Now you can be off-network, operating on last-known data as well as real-time feeds for intelligent, actionable EW.”
Built on EWPMT’s first two capability drops, or planned incremental software releases, Raven Claw was delivered for testing in just six months. During near-peer exercises in European theater Raven Claw proved itself to be fully mission-capable — military speak for able to do its job. Those exercises were the first time in which an electronic warfare officer was able to operate in the field from a laptop in a moving Army vehicle.
Raven Claw gives EW officers the ability to sense, understand, decide and act in the electromagnetic spectrum. That provides EW officers freedom of action in the airwaves, even when they have a poor network connection.
Raven Claw operates from a ruggedized, military laptop and can be used with other Army systems and sensors. Operators can manipulate multiple sensors from its one, common interface.
And for the future, a new version of Raven Claw is in development based on direct feedback from operational users. It will give operators an updated, action-oriented user interface, allowing them to quickly make sense of spectrum data and reduce what the Army calls cognitive overload, while still providing full functionality at the command post.
That flexibility is important when you’re expected to work fast in the back of a truck or other vehicle moving through rough terrain. A prototype is planned for release in 2019.
"Staying ahead of the development curve was key to our success,” said Karen Steinfeld, director of Raytheon Electronic Warfare Systems. “Our investment in an experimental version of EWPMT, coupled with a focus on building and testing with the U.S. Army operators, drove the rapid delivery of Raven Claw.”
By adding capability to the existing EWPMT software baseline, Raven Claw ensures that Capability Drops 3 and 4 have the latest and greatest software. Like Raven Claw, user feedback will be part of future capability drops.