Building sovereign capability for electronic warfare in South Australia

09 Dec 2021
Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and DEWC Services, based in South Australia, are collaborating to introduce a new infrared (IR) camera capability into field trials for electro-optic (EO) countermeasures being developed by DSTG.

Photo credit: David Kilmartin, DSTG

The collaboration, known as the IIR Surrogate project, involves members of the Electronic Warfare Operations (EWO) branch at DSTG working with graduate engineers from DEWC Services, an EW specialist consulting firm providing expert sovereign EW and ISR operation and technical expertise to the ADF and industry. 
 
Dr Miro Dubovinsky (DSTG) says this collaboration is one of several EW projects underway that form early steps in an innovative approach to delivering EW research, development, and test and evaluation capabilities to Defence.  
 
“The ultimate aim is to build a sovereign EW capability within industry. The IIR surrogate project will contribute to this by developing a ground-based dual-band imager capability for detecting and tracking aircraft via their emissions in the infrared and visible spectrum. 
 
“The effectiveness of electro-optic (EO) countermeasures designed to disrupt imager tracking can then be assessed during countermeasures field trials,” Dr Dubovinsky adds. 
 
The IIR Surrogate project collaboration involves the assessment of pre-existing IR camera software that can be the basis for integrating a newer capability camera into the system for future EO countermeasures trials.  
 
The new capability will also incorporate a standard camera for visible tracking of platforms and dispensable countermeasures during trials.
 
The sensor of the new camera has a 640 x 512 pixel focal plane array sensitive to the mid-wave IR spectrum. Efisio Mancini, Discipline Leader for Electro-Optical Sensors and Systems (DSTG), tasked the DEWC Services graduate engineers with building a custom software application to interface with the new camera to acquire image data. 
 
“They conducted an initial assessment of the existing camera and its software to gain an understanding of how the code has been implemented,” says Mr Mancini. 
 
“The documented code highlighted areas for potential improvement.  In fact, they have now begun applying that knowledge to develop interfacing and tracking software for the new camera. 
 
“Tracking is done via a Simulink model that follows a four-step process: detection of objects, associating objects with a track index, tracking of an object, and track logic of a primary track for guidance. The model has a similar structure for both the visible and infrared tracking,” Mr Mancini adds.
 
DEWC Services CEO, Allan Dundas says the IIR surrogate project provides its graduate engineers with an opportunity to make a real difference to the survivability of the Australian warfighter. 
 
“When our graduates get to go to DSTG and have hands-on experience in the counter measures domain, they carry out work alongside highly experienced defence scientists and get further mentoring.  
 
“We are turning these graduate engineers into passionate EW practitioners and ultimately helping the Australian Defence Force address the skills shortage.
 
“This is what our company is passionate about, using its EW expertise to support the ADF and ensure that those who put their lives at risk will have the best chance of success and returning home safely,” Mr Dundas adds.