What is the key to selling EW programs to leadership, either in the Army or the Pentagon?
What it comes down to is this: What is the acceptable level of risk to senior leaders? Give me the money you use to sustain one squadron—what we could with that for Army EW!
Are you seeing a difference in the Army's approach to EW, especially in training the troops getting ready to deploy?
For a long time there was no EW play for the units training for deployment. Now, all of the Army [combat training centers] receive ground-EW training. We are working with the commanders to incorporate EW. We didn't have the time before. We didn't have the people. We didn't have the money. Now the EW officers are part of the units, training with the commanders. EW officers can go to Aberdeen [Proving Ground, Md.,] to get first-hand experience.
Do you have any joint efforts with the Marine Corps for EW platforms?
We are looking at unmanned aircraft with electronic-attack capability. There is a lot of cross-talk between us and the Marines. We feel the technology is there. But the last thing we need is an EW-unique aircraft.
What is the most important upcoming Army EW development program?
The U.S. Army is getting close to putting out a request for proposal (RFP) for a battle management and planning tool for electronic warfare. We should have an RFP out within 18 months, and we plan to have initial operational capability in fiscal 2015. This is what the combatant commanders need.
As the chief of the U.S. Army's new Electronic Warfare Div., Col. Charles J. Ekvall's job is to provide the service with the means and resources to confuse and dupe an enemy. But there is no confusion about Ekvall's mission, which is to make electronic warfare (EW) a basic beat in the Army's battle rhythm, striking new notes for the service. Aviation Week Defense Editor Michael Fabey interviewed Ekvall recently in Washington.