Science

Cyber Warfare Weapons Defeat Simulated Tank Assault in US Army Training Exercise

By | Jun 11, 2017 06:49 PM EDT
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U.S. Army cyber warriors.(Photo : US Army)

Electronic warfare (EW) technology and cyber weapons again defeated a simulated tank assault without a shot being fired, proving to the U.S. Army once again the potency and "lethality" of cyber warfare on the battlefield.

The training exercise held at the army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California was part of a program by the Army Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) and U.S. Cyber Command, which together are developing technologies to protect against cyber and electronic warfare attacks.

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During the exercise, trainers stopped a simulated tank assault by jamming or scrambling the tank crew's radio and communication systems.

"These tanks had to stop, dismount, get out of their protection, reduce their mobility," said Capt. George Puryear, an Irregular Operations Officer at Fort Irwin.

The vulnerability allowed the tanks to be easily defeated.

As defined by the army, cyber warfare includes jamming communication signals and infiltrating networks, both of which were demonstrated during the exercise. An enemy communications network successfully infiltrated can be disabled or manipulated, allowing the army to halt communication or relay false information to enemy troops.

The demonstration also allowed the army to explore the possibilities of infiltrating civilian networks to subdue the populace and invade territories.

Exercises like these help the army determine the technologies needed in the field. Army RCO helps to develop and distribute the needed technology.

Fort Irwin will continue to test and train cyber offensive and defensive weapons because "if we don't win the cyber and EW fight, then the (next) maneuver may not matter, because we may not get it," said Maj. Gen. Wilson A. Shoffner, director of operations at Army RCO.

The experience of the army mirrors that of the real world experience of the Russian Army in their failed campaign to seize eastern Ukraine from the Ukraine in 2014.

During this campaign, Russia demonstrated advanced EW capabilities, which proved to them the strategic significance of EW in future conventional combat.

"As we study them, it becomes a laboratory both for the Russian forces and the Russian supported forces ... it's a laboratory both ways," said Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, commander of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and the Marine Corps Forces Strategic Command.

"They're testing their capabilities ... and we're having to see what they're doing just like we did in the Cold War, but this is an actual battlefield." 


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