The electronic support mission provides situational awareness and understanding of the electromagnetic battlespace: What signals are out there? What kind of system is broadcasting it? What can we infer about their intentions? Are they friend or foe?

Electronic Support Measure (ESM) technology helps commanders create a comprehensive operational picture of allied and adversary disposition alike allowing informed tactical decision making.

ESM is tactically important because it equips forces to prioritize and respond to potential threats in real time. ESM systems often are integrated with electronic attack and electronic protect systems to deploy countermeasures against active, electronically guided threats like anti-air or anti-ship weapons, autonomously, without the need for human intervention. These real time responses are critical to the crew and the platform’s survivability.

Electronic Intelligence

Through the sustained collection of spectrum data, electronic support also provides electronic intelligence in the conflict zone.

Electronic intelligence (ELINT) is the longer-term collection of spectrum data which is used to develop and maintain comprehensive threat libraries. These threat libraries hold great strategic value. Taken together with Communications Intelligence or (COMINT), they are part of the larger Signals Intelligence mission (SIGINT).

ELINT helps military strategists develop insights into how to manage operations in contested areas and other militarily important locations, and gives aviators, sailors and ground forces an idea of what kind of threats they may encounter, and the peace of mind that they have the right countermeasures to stay ahead of them.

ESM systems use SIGINT, to identify threat systems, determine who owns them, locate them, and assess their level of threat. Sophisticated ESM systems are beginning to employ machine intelligence to categorize and rapidly respond to threats. ESM technology currently under development will be able to extend this intelligence to characterizing threats never before encountered as part of the exciting, and growing field of adaptive and eventually cognitive EW.

Harris ESM and ELINT Solutions

Click on the following links to learn more about Harris' ESM and ELINT solutions.