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US Marine Corps Tests Backpackable Electronic Warfare System in the Coral Sea

Enhanced drones

US Marine Corps Tests Backpackable Electronic Warfare System in the Coral Sea

A portable, electronic warfare system attached to a drone was successfully launched at sea for the first time. Marines aboard the USS New Orleans launched the backpackable electronic attack module or BEAM, to test its technology to detect the radio frequency of specific threats.

Capt. Jesse Schmitt, assistant intelligence officer for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, said a rifleman with no special training can be taught to use the system in the course of an afternoon, making it easily deployable alongside Marines in any climate and place. He said that once detected, threats such as hostile drones can easily be located and “taken out.”

Schmitt said that his team of radio experts, Puma drone pilots and sailors spent two days connecting nodes to drones and then launching them off the New Orleans’ flight deck. The trial took place in July off Australia’s northeastern coast in the Coral Sea.

The Marine Corps officer explained that BEAM works through several nodes, which are networked together to create a web of sensors that can detect and take action against hostile electromagnetic emitters. He described nodes as devices that can create, receive, store and communicate information with one another. Three or more nodes form a BEAM network, he added.

The 31st MEU’s BEAM system uses three nodes that can be configured for specific battlespaces. Nodes attached to a Puma provide the Marines knowledge of their surroundings at sea and on land, Stars and Stripes reported Monday.

BEAM technology is not equipped with artificial intelligence, but its computer processing capabilities have been lauded by its users in the USMC. The Corps is conducting the tests to ensure that the BEAM could feasibly be employed from a variety of platforms used in a littoral environment, Schmitt said.

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Category: Defense and Intelligence

Tags: BEAM Defense and Intelligence drones electronic-warfare system Jesse Schmitt Marine Corps Puma drone Stars and Stripes