Jamming without
Being Jammed

Jamming without
Being Jammed

How “Kalaetron Attack” can equip the Eurofighter for electronic combat

Electronic warfare is increasingly contributing to the success of military operations. Here, state-of-the-art HENSOLDT technology shows what is already possible. Part of the recipe for success is the potentials of artificial intelligence, fully digital signal processing, and 3D printing.

Warlike conflicts are increasingly conducted electronically and in the entire electromagnetic spectrum. The war against Ukraine has once again demonstrated this development. Radio signals, including cellular, are used for both communication and remote detonation of explosive devices. Radar and infrared waves support reconnaissance and early detection of enemy activities. Global positioning systems such as GPS guide cruise missiles and drones to their targets. Therefore, the control of all these signals in the electromagnetic spectrum, the so-called spectrum dominance, has become a central requirement for one’s own mission success and the optimal protection of one’s own forces.

“Kalaetron Attack” – Air Combat of the Future

As a decisive national key technology, HENSOLDT has developed the new, fully digitalized interference system called “Kalaetron Attack”. With a variety of highly innovative processes, it combines two central applications in one device: on the one hand, it can passively detect and locate enemy radars, and, on the other hand, it can also actively jam them.

To this end, HENSOLDT draws on its experience from other Kalaetron products, which are already being used successfully for self-protection and signal reconnaissance by the German Bundeswehr, among others. Fully digital, Kalaetron processes all signals directly in the device and evaluates them using artificial intelligence (AI). HENSOLDT has further developed this technology for use in the Eurofighter, since the radars used in air defence and air combat cover an extremely wide frequency range. In order to not be detected, they also often jump back and forth between frequencies in fractions of a second. “Kalaetron Attack” detects them anyway: AI analyzes the threat pattern from the multitude of data collected. Thus, air defence positions can be located in record time – a crucial prerequisite for the operational capability and survivability of own air forces. The entire electromagnetic spectrum is controlled by a single broadband receiver channel. Then comes the “attack.” Using precisely replicated jamming signals, the transmitters are automatically either blinded or deceived in a fraction of a second.

In various field trials, “Kalaetron Attack” has already demonstrated its effectiveness and responsiveness against state-of-the-art air defence radars and air defence systems. In the Eurofighter, it can ensure its safety as well as that of its escort aircraft and thus the successful execution of its missions. Even from a great distance, “Kalaetron Attack” can erect an electronic protective screen, eliminating the threat to entire formations.

State-of-the-Art Technology – in Production and Operation

In developing “Kalaetron Attack”, HENSOLDT was faced with a range of specific challenges. The device had to be small enough to be integrated into existing aircraft. The huge amounts of data from the integrated broadband sensor not only had to be processed on site – that is, in the device itself – but also evaluated within milliseconds and automatically transmitted to an electronically controllable jammer.

This was made possible in particular by 3D printing and AI: the electronic components produced with metallic 3D printing could once again be significantly reduced in size, thus optimizing “Kalaetron Attack” for use in aircraft. Directly in the device, AI ensures that the data can be processed and used without detours via networks.

The result speaks for itself: “Kalaetron Attack” can add electronic warfare capabilities to the German air force’s Eurofighter and ensure timely capability transfer to the ECR Eurofighter. The powerful system will then play a central role for the air forces of the future and, due to its scalability, can also be used in other air-, land-, or ship-based applications.

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Together for Success

Logo Hensoldt Logo Rafael

In 2022, HENSOLDT launched a cooperation with the Israeli company “Rafael Advanced Defence”. This will involve adding “Kalaetron Attack”’s attack capabilities to the Sky Shield jamming system for aircraft developed by Rafael. As a standard military solution, Sky Shield has already been delivered to several customers worldwide and can be easily integrated into fast jet platforms. Enhanced with “Kalaetron Attack”’s electronic attack and jamming capabilities, the result is a comprehensive system for airborne electronic warfare.

The new joint system will use the existing interfaces in the Eurofighter and could be operational from 2028. The cooperation thus supports the German air force’s decision to also actively deploy the Eurofighter in electronic warfare in the near future.

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Graphic of fighter planes picking up and sending signals

A Product Family in Demand As a ground jamming system, “Kalaetron Attack” has already been delivered to the Bundeswehr. For PEGASUS, the future airborne system for electronic signals intelligence, HENSOLDT is responsible as general contractor for the development, production, and integration of the intelligence technology. The Kalaetron Integral signal reconnaissance system will collect and analyze military signals from radar and radio systems.