51st E-2D aircraft is delivered to the USN by Northrop Grumman with more to come.
Polish anti-A2AD system blends ISR and strike capabilities
A new anti-A2AD concept from Polish manufacturer WB Group offers the prospect of loitering munitions or armed UAV swarms waiting in the sky to strike their target when called upon.
First showcased at the MSPO event in Kielce on 7-10 September, W2MPIR is designed to help overcome tiered air defence systems by employing soft- and hard-kill technologies against adversary EW and SIGINT systems, interfering with radar, GPS signals, data link communications and navigation systems.
By fusing the Topaz battle management system with low-cost autonomous precision weaponry such as Warmate 1 and the newer Warmate 2 loitering munition, as well as its FlyEye and FT-5 tactical reconnaissance UAVs, WB Group claims that W2MPIR adds information advantage to strike advantage.
Warmate 2 is larger than its predecessor with a heavier 5kg warhead (compared with 1.4kg on Warmate 1) and 2h endurance. Using a forward operator, its range of operation is 30-240km. Warmate 2 uses catapult launchers on 4x4 vehicles.
FlyEye can provide imagery and electromagnetic (EM) spectrum recognition at a range of 50km without signal retranslation, while the FT-5 is capable of longer-distance reconnaissance and surveillance at 180km without retranslation.
According to WB Group VP Adam Bartosiewicz, swarms of Warmates would saturate enemy A2AD installations but the attritable loitering munition can also be employed to detect RF emissions from high-value targets.
‘In my opinion, in future conflicts the winner will gain dominance… in communication ability and will avoid detection and jamming,’ said Bartosiewicz. ‘In the electronic warfare environment situation awareness will be limited to knowledge about which systems and which method is jammed.’
One notable feature of the CONOPS for W2MPIR is its use of Warmate as an on-demand strike capability. Warmates would be launched in advance to wait above selected areas of the battlefield (they can remain in position for up to 70min).
With this ‘aerial storage’, as WB Group describes it, troops on the ground can call on Warmate when needed by using U-Gate terminals (also made by WB Group) at ranges of up to 30km. Tests have shown that a single operator can effectively control up to ten Warmates simultaneously for coordinated attacks.
W2MPIR can also operate alongside traditional artillery methods, said Bartosiewicz, but he added that small UAVs such as FlyEye or Warmate loitering munitions have the advantage of being able to get close to adversary EW systems and ‘play using the opponent’s power’ – in other words, use the strong EM emissions from jamming systems for guidance without directly relying on GPS.
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