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Tuesday30 November 2021

What Is SIGINT And How Is It Used

Intelligence-pushed determination-making is on the coronary heart of day by day operations and strategic planning for modern militaries and intelligence businesses, and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) is a big part of what makes it possible. At this time we’ll focus on how SIGINT works and why it is so essential, especially as it applies to Digital Warfare applications.

SIGINT Defined
SIGINT is the interception of signals for the purpose of gathering intelligence. It is divided into three sub-disciplines:

Communications Intelligence (COMINT) which is the interception of communication between folks and groups
Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) which is the intercepting of digital signals which are usually not specifically used for communication
International Instrumentation Signals Intelligence (FISINT), which is the collection of signals created by the testing and use of foreign weapons systems.

The origins of SIGINT could be traced back to the primary world war when British forces started intercepting German radio communications to achieve intelligence about their plans. This led to the usage of cryptography to conceal the content of radio transmissions, and as such, cryptanalysis turned an integral part of SIGINT as well.

As technology has advanced, so has the sphere of SIGINT. Immediately, the US military gathers signals intelligence by way of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) like the Global Hawk and Reaper drones, which are equipped with highly effective infrared sensors and cameras, as well as Light and Imaging Detection (LIDAR) and synthetic aperture RADAR systems to gather and transmit back valuable raw intelligence from the operational environment for analysis.

One downside of UAVs is that they fly slower and at decrease altitudes than manned plane, leaving them more vulnerable to anti-plane measures. One answer is the EA-18G Growler. This plane is an updated model of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, which has been repurposed from a pure combat plane to an advanced, supersonic ISR platform. It may well fly a lot faster and higher than a drone and is supplied with sensors that can detect enemy RADAR and even cell phone signals.

One other more down-to-earth example of contemporary SIGINT capabilities can be interception of electronic communications data by the NSA, which can provide motionable intelligence in real-time by capturing data like emails, texts, phone calls and more.

When raw SIGINT is captured, it must then be translated, interpreted or represented, because the case may be, into info which can then be analyzed and used for choice-making.

How Does SIGINT apply to Electronic Warfare?
The term Electronic Warfare (EW) applies to military motion involving the usage of the electromagnetic spectrum. The goal of EW is to maximise the ability of friendly forces to access and exploit the spectrum while disrupting and denying the enemy’s ability to do the same. It also encompasses using technology to defend against attacks on spectral capabilities and the use of offensive directed energy weapons. Examples of EW include radar jamming, communication jamming, and electronic masking, as well as countermeasures against such techniques.

As with SIGINT, EW could be divided into three sub-disciplines. These include:

Digital Attack (EA), which includes offensive use of directed energy in opposition to the enemy
Electronic Protection (EP), which is defensive, like the Digital Warfare Self-Protection (EWSP) suite constructed into fighter jets
Electronic Warfare Assist (ES), the practice of locating and figuring out the sources of electromagnetic energy signals for the aim of supporting choice-making
It is in this third class of ES that we see the overlap of digital warfare and SIGINT because the systems and equipment used for ES can concurrently acquire intelligence. While ES is more targeted on fast threats in the operational setting, a lot of the data obtained can be used to boost raw signals intelligence and SIGINT determination-making.

ES can detect the source of an electromagnetic signal, the type of equipment producing that signal, and relevant data like frequency, modulation, etc. For example, ES personnel can detect an unknown radar signal emanating from someplace within the battlespace. They'll analyze the signal and decide the type of radar that's getting used, and examine their findings with countries known to use this type of radar, and what vehicles, ships, aircraft, etc. it is typically used with. They will then ascertain the nature of the radar source, and make clever predictions on what the unknown actor’s intentions are.

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