Robins Electronic Warfare and Avionics Conference: Working to defend invisible battlespace

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office

The Electronic Warfare and Avionics Program Office in the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, hosted an innovation conference March 21-23 at the Museum of Aviation.

The event provided a venue for the Air Force, Department of Defense industry professionals, academic, government and non-profit groups to share information regarding the latest technology and policy issues in the areas of Electromagnetic Warfare, Avionics, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance.

“We’re excited to be back,” said Matt Bryant, AFLCMC Electronic Warfare and Avionics Division Chief engineer. ”Our last event was held in 2019. The following years the event was put on hold because of coronavirus restrictions and regulations about the number of people who can gather for events."

“This year’s theme is, ‘Maintaining Dominance in the Electromagnetic Spectrum by Rapidly Fielding and Modifying Systems through the use of Innovation and Open, Common Standards,’" Bryant continued. “The Air Force is looking for the latest technology, which will enable us to thwart new threats or deliver countermeasures for current or emerging threats.”

Bryant described the electromagnetic spectrum as an invisible battlespace centered around frequencies that can support radios, navigation, weapons and mobile phone networks. By utilizing the spectrum, it can assist in DoD operations in the areas of cyberspace, space, land, air and sea. 

“Accelerate, Change or Lose is our mantra,” Bryant said. “We’ve got to be innovative, flexible and faster or else we are going to lose the fight to our adversaries. If our adversaries can find a way to use the spectrum to interrupt our weapons systems, that puts us in a disadvantage. So, it’s our goal to have back-ups to the back-up plan.”

One way the EW&A Program Office plans to address these threats is with the use of open standards and innovation.

“For instance, with an Apple or Android phone, anyone who wants to code applications on either one of those phones could do so. They don’t have to work for either company,” said Michael Dostie, AFLCMC EW&A Engineering Branch chief. “What they would do is create a software code that meets the company’s code standards and then be added to the app store.

“And that’s essentially what we are trying to do with this conference, make connections with potential innovators through open architecture standards,” he continued. “We are looking to collaborate with people who can integrate existing technologies, creating standard interfaces that will allow rapid acquisition and fielding.”

During the two-day conference participants had the opportunity to interact with nearly 20 vendors who showcased some of the latest tools and gadgets that could possibly aid in the electromagnetic spectrum and next generation combat capabilities.

EW&A is responsible for software support for 460 systems supporting or installed on 60 models of aircraft, such as F-15, C-130, C-5, C-17 and unmanned aerial vehicles. It also supports Air Force avionics systems, communication, navigation, radar and sensors.