Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR-Nov-02.11.2011 Contents Asia Pacific Defence Reporter | 19
Asia Pacific Defence Reporter | 19
Raytheon Beechcraft T-6II ‘Texan’
Credit: Raytheon / Bryan Charlton
considerable expense and questionable wisdom,
but it presently remains lumbered with the
“always on” requirement that doomed the
German Navy. This Achilles Heel of networked
warfare is widely accepted, since continuous
radio transmissions are presently the imperative
to land force operations. Acceptance of this
liability has resulted in a relaxed, desensitized
approach toward radio transmission security
with the net result, as in the Vietnam war, that
known and potential adversaries are able to use
readily available commercial technology. This
allows them to passively conduct Radio Direction
Finding (RDF) and radio frequency traffic analysis
(not data content) in order to more accurately
assess how such an NCW structured force
operates and in a hostile situation the time and
place to implement decisive action. And it can do
this without the knowledge of the Own force. As
one report of the Vietnam war stated “they (the
Viet Cong) always expected us”.
This leaves security of data to be provided by
cryptography – and that is a different story.
Interestingly, Defence has similarly been
occupied with the collection and analysis of
radio frequency transmissions from a hostile
force by implementing the BUNYIP program.
This is a modest tri-service project (about $150m)
with Defence being the prime contractor using
selected Australian Industry companies to
provide specified RDF capabilities and analysis of
acquired RF signals. BUNYIP is intended to replace
earlier developments by the Australian Army.
It is understood that BUNYIP does not include
language analysis since this latter capability is a
responsibility of the Defence Signals Directorate.
BUNYIP is interesting because it uses COTS
equipment such as panoramic receivers, that are
able to acquire and process frequency hopping
and LPI RF transmissions using various broad-
band receive antennas.
In operation, BUNYIP assumes that the
incidence of a series of apparently random RF
transmissions, if carefully collected and analysed,
(e.g. location, traffic density characteristics, time
of day, movement) may be indicative of a planned
Source jamming by BUNYIP is not involved
as this would be a prime giveaway of a receiver’s
There appears to be several complementary,
possible, solutions to this problem that will
simply not go away by itself.
• Change the concept of “always on” by
introducing a rigidly applied “need to know”
doctrine that determines who really needs to
know the force tactics and when to apply them,
on a campaign basis. It is arguable that the
person who really has the greatest need to know
is the immediate field commander and his staff,
the tactics having been decided collectively
with the higher command structure before the
event, without resorting to the use of an RF
communications network to convey them.
• Always have a continuous stream of airborne
ISR data available from suitable UAVs.
• Control the directed radiated energy of
essential RF transmissions to satisfy only the
immediately required operational range.
• In a limited engagement use transmission
spectra that are not within the radio frequency
spectrum (eye-safe laser, IR bands).
1. Persistent “always on” radio communications are the leak in the “ship”.
2. Global proliferation of a wide range of technologies will affect the character
of future conflicts. A forecast of future conflicts ought necessarily to include the
effects of adversary actions taken to obtain tactical advantage by acquiring and
using Own force situational awareness data obtained through the use of persistent
communications. It must be recognised that potential adversaries will not allow
denial of this capability to go unchallenged. APDR
US Marines monitoring communications traffic.
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