What’s SIGINT and How is it Used

Intelligence-driven decision-making is on the coronary heart of every day operations and strategic planning for contemporary militaries and intelligence businesses, and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) is a big part of what makes it possible. At present we’ll discuss how SIGINT works and why it is so vital, particularly as it applies to Digital Warfare applications.

SIGINT Explained

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

Communications Intelligence (COMINT) which is the interception of communication between folks and groups

Digital Intelligence (ELINT) which is the intercepting of electronic signals which should not specifically used for communication

International Instrumentation Signals Intelligence (FISINT), which is the collection of signals created by the testing and use of international weapons systems.

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

As technology has advanced, so has the sector of SIGINT. As we speak, the US military gathers signals intelligence by 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 artificial aperture RADAR systems to gather and transmit back valuable raw intelligence from the operational atmosphere for analysis.

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

Another more down-to-earth example of contemporary SIGINT capabilities would be interception of digital 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, as the case could also be, into information which can then be analyzed and used for decision-making.

How Does SIGINT apply to Digital Warfare?

The time period Digital Warfare (EW) applies to military motion involving using the electromagnetic spectrum. The goal of EW is to maximize the ability of pleasant forces to access and exploit the spectrum while disrupting and denying the enemy’s ability to do the same. It additionally encompasses using technology to defend towards attacks on spectral capabilities and the usage of offensive directed energy weapons. Examples of EW include radar jamming, communication jamming, and digital masking, as well as countermeasures in opposition to such techniques.

As with SIGINT, EW can be divided into three sub-disciplines. These embody:

Electronic Attack (EA), which contains offensive use of directed energy against the enemy

Electronic Protection (EP), which is defensive, like the Digital Warfare Self-Protection (EWSP) suite constructed into fighter jets

Digital Warfare Help (ES), the observe of locating and figuring out the sources of electromagnetic energy signals for the aim of supporting determination-making

It is in this third class of ES that we see the overlap of electronic warfare and SIGINT because the systems and equipment used for ES can simultaneously gather intelligence. While ES is more focused on immediate threats in the operational atmosphere, much of the data obtained can be used to reinforce raw signals intelligence and SIGINT choice-making.

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

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