DEWC rebranded JEWOSC under Joint Forces Command

On 1st July 2014 the Defence Electronic Warfare Centre (DEWC) transitioned Command and Control to Joint Forces Command (JFC) and assumed the new title of the Joint Electronic Warfare Operational Support Centre (JEWOSC).

The move marks the latest evolution in UK Defence’s continuing commitment to provide front line commands with state-of-the-art EW Operational Support (EWOS).

The organisation originally began life as the Electronic Warfare Operational Support Establishment (EWOSE); it was established as a tri-Service facility at RAF Wyton in 1983. Its remit was to provide programming  support to first generation aircraft, ships and land equipment to be fitted with digital Radar Warning Receivers (RWR) and Electronic Support Measures (ESM).

For the RAF, platforms such as the Nimrod R1 and Tornado GR1 introduced a step change to the level of EWOS required to sustain operational output. Likewise the Royal Navy was keen to establish a centre of excellence to ensure that lessons identified from the Falklands conflict of 1982 could be learnt. The Army also joined EWOSE, contributing to the Test Teams section to support ground-based EW equipment. The facility originally comprised two sections, the Joint EW Database and EW Reprogramming and Library Production.

With the advancement of technology associated with EWOS and the increased complexity of RWR and ESM equipments, EWOSE grew significantly. Moving to the Air Warfare Centre in 1993 and into the Thomson  Building at RAF Waddington in 1995, the addition of further elements such as the AWC Tactics and EW Division led to the rebranding of EWOSE. In order to reflect its now wider Defence roles and responsibilities, EWOSE became the Defence Electronic Warfare Centre (DEWC). The JEWOSC consists of four Sqns, staffed by a mix of Tri-Service, Civil Service and Defence Industry personnel.

At the heart of the JEWOSC is the UK’s Defence EW Database, a Defence-critical tri-Service capability, maintained by the Database Sqn. The Sqn’s purpose is to provide accurate and timely EW data to UK warfighting forces in the EW domain; Database Sqn converts open and classified EW information and data into an end product that can be used by reprogramming teams across the JEWOSC.

Data is then taken from the database and further processed by Production Sqn. The Production Sqn role is to transform the data that is held in the Database into bespoke products that can be used by EW equipment across the tri-Service arena. This is a huge challenge, as across Defence there is a diverse range of equipment of varying age and capability. Each platform’s equipment requires a highly skilled team of reprogrammers to elicit pertinent data from the database to be reprogrammed into each individual Radar Warning Receivers and Electronic Support Measures system.

In addition to Database and Production Sqn, JEWOSC is supported by an additional two Sqns, namely Ops & Trg and Delivery Support Sqn (DSS). Ops & Trg Sqn is made up of highly experienced and skilled EW operators who provide specialist advice both to Front Line Commands and to personnel within the JEWOSC. Furthermore, Ops & Trg also provide the highly complex reprogramming training that all JEWOSC personnel undertake. DSS is responsible for the maintenance and administration of the Database, fundamental to ensuring JEWOSC can deliver operational support to the front line in a timely manner.

The work undertaken by all four Sqns within JEWOSC has become a key enabler for mission success and exists to ensure the survivability of UK personnel and equipment in a Radio Frequency contested battle space.

During the transition of the DEWC to the JEWOSC, day-to-day business for the majority of the workforce within the Thomson Building will remain largely unaffected, with subtle changes to post titles and email addresses  the only immediately visible change.

However, the transition to JFC will see JEWOSC provided with 4* representation under Commander Joint Forces Command (JFC), with Operational Control delegated to Director Cyber Intelligence and Information Integration (DCI3). Tactical Command and Control will be devolved to Director JEWOSC, a role that will remain with Commandant AWC.

Integration within JFC will enable greater coherence across EWOS within the tri-Service environment and hopes to introduce greater efficiencies and reduce risks. It is also expected that with the increased complexity of the latest generation of EW equipment the ability to deliver fused data solutions to front line operators will be greatly improved.

Future Challenges

Meeting the challenges of the 21st century EW operating environment is a significant challenge that the JEWOSC is meeting head on. In order to safeguard the UK’s future Defence assets in a contested Electromagnetic Operating Environment (EME), the DEWC Improvement Programme was created. Its aim is to deliver the most effective end-to-end EWOS solution across tri-Service Defence platforms out to 2030 and beyond. The Programme, known as Project SHEPHERD, began in 2010 and is broken down into 3 stages, and in simple terms includes:

Stage 1 – Replacement of the Defence EW Database.

Stage 2 – Modernisation of Mission Data Generators.

Stage 3 – DEWC enterprise transformation and integration with other business elements.

With Stage 1 due for completion in 2015 and Stage 2 currently underway, Project SHEPHERD is already well on track. It will ensure that the JEWOSC will be able to sustain timely fused data exploitation to the war fighter  on the front line and support current and future platforms and their EW equipment out to 2030 and beyond.

Additional challenges lie in the shape of future platforms the JEWOSC will be required to support. Multi-national programmes, such as the F-35 Lightning II, represent a step change in the capabilities that will be reprogrammed and sustained by the JEWOSC. A joint RN/RAF programme, the sensor suite will include an AESA radar, an EO/IR targeting system and 360° Distributed Aperture System; Lightning II will provide fifth  generation expeditionary combat aircraft capability beyond 2030. In order to meet the EWOS capability requirement, a number of JEWOSC personnel have already begun training at the Australian, Canadian and UK Reprogramming Library (ACURL) in the USA.

This proactive rather than reactive approach to EWOS ensures that the JEWOSC is well placed at the forefront of EW requirements management for future programmes. It also ensures that it will be able to provide through life EW support to front line personnel operating in the future Radio Frequency Electromagnetic environments.

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