In what is being called “a revolution in electronic warfare,” Israel has revealed a new electronic warfare system called Scorpius that can reportedly use electronically scanned array (AESA) technology with narrowly targeted beams to interfere with enemies’ electronic systems.
Interviewed by Forbes, Gideon Fustick, Marketing VP EW Group at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), stated, “It’s the first system that can really detect anything in the sky and address multiple targets in different directions and different frequencies simultaneously.” He continued, “We call it ‘soft protection.’ It’s an offensive weapon that doesn’t send out missiles. It’s not a hard-kill system.”
He added, “And yet it is very effective in engaging and disabling enemy systems.”
Adi Dulberg, general manager of IAI’s Intelligence Division, commented, “The modern battlefield depends on the electromagnetic domain for sensing, communications, and navigation. Protecting the use of the electromagnetic domain for our forces, while denying its use by the enemy, have become mission-critical for success in combat and for ensuring the superiority of our forces in the field.” The Times of Israel noted, adding, “The new Scorpius system can be attached to ground, naval and air forces, according to the semi state-owned IAI.”
“More and more of the activity in warfare is going into the electromagnetic domain,” Fustick explained. “Planes, missiles, UAVs are all using electromagnetic magnetic means, to sense the environment, to navigate, and to communicate.”
“The enemy is trying to use the electromagnetic domain for all these activities,” he noted. “We are also trying to use them. And we’re each trying to deny the other side from the use of the electromagnetic domain.”
Fustick contended that the beams could be sent “at any wavelength, any frequency, any direction against specific targets without interfering with anybody else,” adding, “That is a revolution in electronic warfare.”
“Before the innovation of such narrow beams, operators of EW systems only had two options. They could either aim a single narrow beam around the sky in search of a target, which is very difficult to do, or use a wider beam,” Forbes noted.
Fustick delineated the more-narrowly focused beam’s advantages: ‘If you’re using the wider beam, then you’re definitely catching your target, but you’re also catching a whole lot of other stuff, including friendly forces in the same beam.” He pointed out that the wider beam used in conjunction with the narrower beam would permit the operator to scan over a wide expanse but then target the threat more accurately with the narrower beam.
The system “becomes not only a tool for taking out a specific target, but it creates an electronic umbrella of defense over a whole region,” Fustick theorized. “That’s something that was simply not possible with previous electronic warfare technology.”
“So, it’s not only new capabilities. It’s a new product category,” he said.
“One of the advantages about electronic or soft defense systems is that the price per activation is virtually zero,” he noted. “You don’t run out of ammunition, and there is no question of ‘do I or do I not engage that particular threat.’”
“It is the only training system that can engage fifth-generation aircraft and was very publicly in view and successful operation during the Blue Flag exercise,” Fustick concluded.