Electronic Warfare as Easy as Changing a Light Bulb


Published in C4ISRNET
Written by Kelsey D Atherton

To understand the future of electronic warfare, think about the lamp.

At the 2019 Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting, the Sensors Open Systems Architecture consortium delved into an Edisonian past to meet the needs of plug-and-play warfare.

The tricky job of a consortium is getting a collection of companies, many of them direct competitors, to agree on the parts of a design that they will not compete on. With light bulbs, it was widespread standards for the size of sockets, so that customers would not be locked into proprietary bulbs. In more recent times, it can be seen in the “universal” part of Universal Serial Bus”, or USB, enabling a wide range of machines to use the same ports and draw the same power supply.

The point of the SOSA consortium is to create the same kind of interoperable architecture, freeing the military customer from being vendor locked into a dead product and allowing a whole market to function supporting existing ports. Army Col. Kevin Finch, program manager for electronic warfare and cyber, said exactly what he didn’t want was a program that will cost $50 million to upgrade without offering any more capability.

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