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U.S. Air Force Reaper Lives to 2035. New Weapons & EW For War

By Author: by Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven, Security Television Network

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    September 8, 2021 (Security Television Network) — U.S. Air Force arms MQ-9 Reaper with technology to “counter” enemy countermeasures. (Washington, D.C.) The Air Force is arming its Reaper drone with new technologies to “counter” enemy countermeasures by enabling its sensors, electronics and weapons to sustain functionality even in the event that an enemy attempts to hack, “jam” or disrupt its systems.

It’s called a “hardened targeting pod,” a technology with what an Air Force report calls an “electro-optical counter-countermeasure.” While many of the technical parameters central to the technology were not mentioned in the Air Force report, likely for security reasons, it was identified as a system that gives the MQ-9 Reaper an ability to find and detect threats in order to thwart jamming attempts or enemy EW attacks.

Reaper Defense Electronic Support System

The Reaper technology, identified as the Reaper Defense Electronic Support System (RDESS), is described as having successfully tested an anti-jam, anti-spoofing application which can utilize new aircraft antennas to make essential assessments. The Air Force report also said the new RDESS supports DoD’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, something which could suggest the new target hardening pod draws upon AI-enabled computer technology. It would not be at all surprising if AI-enable algorithms were used to help discern, organize and even deconflict parts of the spectrum to ascertain where the threats are and, if needed, recommend adjustments to protect against jamming.

One of the ways the Air Force is countering enemy countermeasures is by engineering RF technologies capable of frequency hopping for weapons guidance systems. For example, should an enemy EW attack seek to jam the RF or infrared targeting guidance on an air-to-air weapon, targeting adaptations can switch or “hop” from one frequency to another to ensure continued guidance functionality. The Reaper has even been armed with AIM-9X air-to-air weapons, a development which allows for a greater range of air warfare engagement possibilities.

This kind of anti-jamming technology, which was demonstrated at the Air Force’s recent Northern Edge wargame in Alaska, could be extremely significant to a platform such as the Reaper, which the Air Force continues to transition into a great power warfare environment.

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Dr. James Hall
(202) 607-2421

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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