"Experiments in the Nevada desert are using unmanned aircraft to find the exact location of enemy electronic emissions, such as the mobile phone of a terrorist in a fast-moving auto," Aviation Week reports.
U.S. Air Force researchers say they've been able to locate such targets, as well as mobile missile systems, within tens of meters and often in less than a minute, which makes them vulnerable to attack before they can flee surveillance.Such tasks, until now, were the exclusive purview of classified systems on the Pentagon's small fleets of U-2, RC-135 Rivet Joint and other manned, intelligence-gathering aircraft. With the mission shifting to more versatile, long-endurance UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], new technologies are emerging from the black world to become weapons in the war on terrorism, say researchers here.While transferring the mission to UAVs is a technological leap in itself, more importantly, it opens doors for the U.S. invasion of enemy air defenses and other systems through their integrated communications links. Once electronic emissions are located, packages of algorithms analyze them and figure out how to exploit the foe's systems by mining them for information, deceiving them or taking control of their operation.For example, U.S. Air Force operators can use new, growing families of electronic attack weapons to see, from inside the enemy's air defense system, what their radars can detect. They can even, as an option, turn enemy radars away from the areas where U.S. aircraft are penetrating their defenses... or, more intriguingly, they could be attacked at the speed of light with electronic algorithms or bursts of high-power microwaves.