Raytheon BBN has gotten $8.3 million to begin developing a sophisticated electronic system to surgically jam specific digital signals generated by everything from cell phones to GPS devices, satellites and radios.
Known as the Precision Electronic Warfare (PREW), the goal of the technology will be able to surgically disable targets in small areas on demand without hindering or disabling friendly devices in the surrounding area.
The idea behind the PREW system is to focus beams from an array of nodes -- 40 or more -- at a desired position from the ground or from an aircraft. Precision timing should help provide the precise projection of energy onto targets. Today such electronic jamming systems tend to block out entire sections of a given location disabling all systems in the area.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency had its hands in the development of PREW systems. Last year it envisioned to two modes of operation for a PREW system: point-to-an-area and point-to-a-spot. The first would target very specific communications devices while the latter would disable an entire region. Such an on-demand, low-cost capability that can accurately deny hostile forces the ability to communicate and navigate while allowing the same abilities for friendly forces is highly desired, DARPA stated.
The Ratheon BBN contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to an estimated $15.1 million.
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