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<v Rita Williams>Rita Williams reports <v Rita Williams>the Silicon Valley at 50-mile strip of land in the Santa Clara Valley <v Rita Williams>from San Jose to Palo Alto. <v Rita Williams>The center of this country's growing microelectronics industry, a technological <v Rita Williams>revolution hit the valley in the early 70s, and most of us have benefited in <v Rita Williams>some way from the results. <v Rita Williams>Computerized products are now an everyday part of our lives. <v Toy>The correct spelling of health is h e a l t h health. Try color. <v Rita Williams>But not all of the Silicon Valley's technology is going into consumer products. <v Rita Williams>A rapidly increasing portion of the technology developed here is being channeled into a <v Rita Williams>field that shrouded in secrecy. <v Rita Williams>A field most of us know very little about it's called electronic <v Rita Williams>warfare.
<v Rita Williams>This is the biggest impact today's electronic technology has had on modern warfare. <v Rita Williams>Today, there is less chance for a miss. <v Rita Williams>What a soldier can see. He can hit and more and more can be seen now, <v Rita Williams>day or night. That's particularly important for the United States, which <v Rita Williams>has to rely on superior technology to offset the Soviet Union's advantage <v Rita Williams>in sheer numbers of weapons and manpower. <v Dave Montague>So the objective that we think we're trying to meet is <v Dave Montague>to leverage in quality <v Dave Montague>against those forces of superior numbers by using <v Dave Montague>techniques that allow us to bring our lesser resources to bear better. <v Dave Montague>In other words, make every round count. <v Rita Williams>That's why the Pentagon is relying more and more heavily on the brainpower of high <v Rita Williams>technology centers like the Silicon Valley. <v Rita Williams>Defense Secretary Harold Brown. <v Harold Brown>We do have one advantage, however.
<v Harold Brown>It's one of a number of very substantial technological advantages that the United States <v Harold Brown>has in the capacity of our civilian electronics <v Harold Brown>industry. Whether it's Silicon Valley capabilities in <v Harold Brown>Santa Clara or whether it's computer design capabilities, <v Harold Brown>the reliability, the productivity of our <v Harold Brown>technological industry on the civilian side. <v Harold Brown>It's something that the Defense Department hitherto has been able to gain a great deal <v Harold Brown>of advantage out of without having to pay anything for it. <v Bob Decosta>There are other areas of the country where they have good technology and where <v Bob Decosta>they have very up to date and sophisticated technologies. <v Bob Decosta>But I don't think there's any place in the world that has the capacity <v Bob Decosta>and the technique and the expertise that we have here in Silicon <v Bob Decosta>Valley before microprocessor chips. <v Bob Decosta>Silicon Valley today has the capacity to supply the brain
<v Bob Decosta>for electronic warfare systems. <v Rita Williams>Science fiction, the electronic wizardry of Star Wars may not be all <v Rita Williams>that far fetched. <v Rita Williams>This is not Hollywood fantasy. <v Rita Williams>It is a pilotless plane or drone called Aquila. <v Rita Williams>It's being developed right now for the U.S. <v Rita Williams>Army. By Lockheed missiles in space in Sunnyvale. <v Dave Montague>The Aquila is a remotely piloted vehicle or a drone. <v Dave Montague>It's a vehicle that brings a forward observer's <v Dave Montague>eyeballs twenty-five miles behind the line <v Dave Montague>of the enemy forces and allows him to with a sophisticated <v Dave Montague>sensor onboard the vehicle to see targets <v Dave Montague>as they come into view over a large portion of the battlefield, <v Dave Montague>locate them and then designate them for
<v Dave Montague>a weapon that has a long-range from behind our lines <v Dave Montague>and allows it to hone on that target. <v Rita Williams>Already some five years and more than 16 million dollars in the making. <v Rita Williams>The Army has just given Lockheed the go-ahead for the next four years stage of <v Rita Williams>development. By the time Aquila is actually ready to be used in the <v Rita Williams>battlefield, probably in 1984, though that date is classified, <v Rita Williams>at least 10 years will have lapsed. <v Rita Williams>Aquila looks like its Latin namesake, the eagle, only 11 feet <v Rita Williams>from wingtip to wingtip and weighing about 150 pounds Aquila, <v Rita Williams>can be launched anywhere on the battlefield and it can be recovered and reused <v Rita Williams>after each mission. It's guided from the ground by a computer, <v Rita Williams>a TV camera, and the plane sends back pictures as Aquila searches enemy territory <v Rita Williams>for a target here, a tank. <v Rita Williams>Once identified. The operator back at ground control activates Aquila's onboard
<v Rita Williams>laser homing in on the tank while a computer determines the exact range <v Rita Williams>and elevation of the target, next. <v Rita Williams>A laser seeking missile steers itself toward the laser energy reflected from the <v Rita Williams>target. <v Rita Williams>One shot. One tank, a giant technological leap forward <v Rita Williams>from the past when soldiers had to saturate areas where targets were only believed <v Rita Williams>to be. In World War Two, it's estimated it took an average of <v Rita Williams>300000 small arms rounds to kill a single soldier. <v Rita Williams>That meant much wasted time, weapons and, of course, indiscriminate killing. <v Rita Williams>An example of the impact electronic technology has had comes from a pilot <v Rita Williams>during the Vietnam War. <v Butch Deacon>There were there were times, for example, on the ?Fanwa? <v Butch Deacon>Bridge, which was one of the more difficult targets in North Vietnam to hit. <v Butch Deacon>And we spent I don't know how many missions trying to knock that bridge out. <v Butch Deacon>And we lost, I had heard by by the end of the war, nearly 100 airplanes have been shot
<v Butch Deacon>down just in the vicinity of the Fanwa bridge. <v Butch Deacon>And the difficulty was you're trying to bomb a bridge that was maybe 10 feet wide <v Butch Deacon>with an airplane moving through the air at maybe eight hundred feet per second. <v Butch Deacon>And you were trying to put a bomb within this area of 20 feet. <v Butch Deacon>And it was just too much to ask. <v Butch Deacon>And by the end of the war, we had laser-guided bombs where when you're playing with <v Butch Deacon>spot and illuminate the target with a laser and another airplane would drop the bomb <v Butch Deacon>and you could hit a target with a three thousand pound bomb dropped from twenty-five <v Butch Deacon>thousand feet, you could hit that target within an accuracy of three feet. <v Rita Williams>The cost of the homing glide bomb and the maverick missile that finally knocked out the <v Rita Williams>bridge in 1972, about fifteen thousand dollars. <v Rita Williams>That's just a fraction of the cost of the earlier attempts. <v Rita Williams>The main reason for this turnaround and what we know as conventional warfare is <v Rita Williams>miniaturization. And the key to that miniaturization is this tiny silicon <v Rita Williams>chip, the brainchild of an engineer at Intel Corp.
<v Rita Williams>in Santa Clara. In theory, this same basic chip can do everything from <v Rita Williams>switching on a roast to godding missiles. <v Rita Williams>And in practice, that's precisely what's happening since the introduction of the chip <v Rita Williams>in 1971. Greater computer power can be packed into even faster <v Rita Williams>and smaller missiles. The result a precision-guided or smart weapon. <v Rita Williams>Whether the missile is a laser seeker like the cannon fired missile used with Aquila <v Rita Williams>or another type, smart weapons have four basic parts in common <v Rita Williams>a motor, a high explosive warhead, a guidance mechanism <v Rita Williams>and a homing head. Besides lasers, the homing head could be <v Rita Williams>TV guided, Guided by radar, such as in a ground to air missile, steered <v Rita Williams>through signals transmitted along connected wires or even an infrared <v Rita Williams>seeker, a missile that guides itself to certain intense heat sources <v Rita Williams>like an airplane's engine or exhaust. <v Rita Williams>Although Aquila is primarily a spotter, other drones can even be
<v Rita Williams>fitted with weapons themselves, intended either as a launch platform <v Rita Williams>for the missile or as the weapon itself as the drone explodes <v Rita Williams>into the target area. <v Rita Williams>But these so-called smart weapons may not be as smart as they first appear. <v Rita Williams>Each has an Achilles heel. <v Rita Williams>Since they use part of the Electromagnetic spectrum guidance, every <v Rita Williams>high technology weapon is vulnerable to countermeasures. <v Rita Williams>And figuring out what those vulnerabilities are and how to counter them is what's known <v Rita Williams>as electronic warfare. <v Bob Decosta>Basically, electronic warfare began when the first radio was <v Bob Decosta>used or utilized in in a situation between hostile <v Bob Decosta>nations. Electronic warfare is basically battling for control of the <v Bob Decosta>electromagnetic spectrum, either denying your opponent the use of it <v Bob Decosta>as jamming his radio signals or his radar signals or in <v Bob Decosta>exploiting it, taking it and using it to your advantage. <v Julian Lake>Electronic warfare and modern sense is a response to modern
<v Julian Lake>weapons, which are extremely accurate and have a high probability <v Julian Lake>of hitting the target with the first round. <v Julian Lake>Now, this is all based on sophisticated technology, <v Julian Lake>and this technology contains in itself a vulnerability <v Julian Lake>to countermeasures. <v Julian Lake>We simply cannot tolerate or accept the accuracy of these modern <v Julian Lake>weapons. So we must employ countermeasures, electronic <v Julian Lake>countermeasures to defeat these weapons. <v Julian Lake>If you don't respond to them, they will defeat <v Julian Lake>you in one battle and maybe that one battle will decide the <v Julian Lake>outcome of a war. <v Rita Williams>That's why what's being developed in the Silicon Valley is so important to electronic <v Rita Williams>warfare, or EW, as it's known in the industry for every <v Rita Williams>highly complex weapon that makes use of the latest technology, there is almost <v Rita Williams>always a way of using that same technology to defend against it.
<v Dave Montague>Whenever you develop a system that offers an advantage to <v Dave Montague>your forces, you're faced with a problem in time. <v Dave Montague>How long will it be before the other side can develop <v Dave Montague>measures to counter this system? <v Dave Montague>And so, of course, one of the things we must do is concern ourselves with what possible <v Dave Montague>countermeasures there are and develop defenses against them. <v Rita Williams>This is considered to be the first electronic countermeasure called chaf. <v Rita Williams>It made its debut in the Second World War and it's still being used today. <v Rita Williams>Just last week, one Bay Area electronic warfare firm, which produces chess, <v Rita Williams>was awarded the largest defense contract in its 20-year existence. <v Rita Williams>NBA associates of San Ramone will supply the U.S. <v Rita Williams>Air Force with five million dollars worth of chaff dispensers over the next two years. <v Rita Williams>This is the way it works to confuse enemy radar. <v Rita Williams>A pilot dumps a supply of chaff out of his plane. <v Rita Williams>It's made of aluminum foil cut into strips.
<v Rita Williams>The length dependent on the wavelength of the radar to be deceived as <v Rita Williams>shown here during a wind tunnel test. <v Rita Williams>The filaments then form a drifting cloud when struck by a radar beam. <v Rita Williams>This cloud reflects energy back to the enemy receiver, giving the impression <v Rita Williams>of many targets when in fact there's only one. <v Rita Williams>But even though the pilot has used chaf, he's still not necessarily safe from detection. <v Rita Williams>The attacker has other options. <v Rita Williams>He can resort to counter-counter-measures in this case by switching his <v Rita Williams>radar to another wavelength. <v Rita Williams>If the attacker is lucky, the target echo may reappear on the screen. <v Rita Williams>This frequency agility hopping from frequency to frequency is an important <v Rita Williams>feature of modern warfare, and several peninsula firms specialize in designing <v Rita Williams>these radar systems. <v Rita Williams>The Bay Area firms also design and develop other electronic systems, and modern <v Rita Williams>aircraft needs to survive. <v Rita Williams>For example, in Vietnam, U.S.
<v Rita Williams>planes also were equipped with flares to confuse heat-seeking missiles <v Rita Williams>and with jamming pods like those under the wings of these Navy fighters. <v Rita Williams>Pods analyzed the frequency of enemy radar and it by sending <v Rita Williams>back noise on the same frequency. <v Butch Deacon>When we had our jamming pods, we we flew what was called pod formation, and we would <v Butch Deacon>stack out so that we would have a large cone overlapping <v Butch Deacon>each airplane that was transmitting. So we'd fly one airplane here, one airplane here, <v Butch Deacon>one airplane here, and then the other airplane would be over here. <v Butch Deacon>So that essentially we had a kind of a big blur. <v Butch Deacon>When the enemy tried to look at us, what they'd see was on the frequencies they were <v Butch Deacon>using. They would see a chunk of sky that they didn't know where the plane was. <v Butch Deacon>It was like a big cotton ball. <v Butch Deacon>And somewhere in there were little hard objects that they were trying to shoot down. <v Rita Williams>In the late 60s, Butch Deacon, then an Air Force captain, was flying F-4 <v Rita Williams>phantoms over Hanoi, providing cover for bombing missions. <v Butch Deacon>Just to give you an idea of how important to you Sam Pod was, at
<v Butch Deacon>least to us and obviously to the people who are looking at losses, was that if we did <v Butch Deacon>not have an operable pod, we'd abort the mission <v Butch Deacon>and someone else would have to fly it. One of our spares. <v Rita Williams>Today, Degan, is a civilian, a San Francisco surgeon. <v Rita Williams>He credits electronic warfare in part for his being alive today. <v Rita Williams>His buddies weren't so lucky in this outfit. <v Butch Deacon>This is wolf and we were the wolf ?ax?. <v Butch Deacon>And there were six crews and twelve <v Butch Deacon>guys during the time I was there. <v Butch Deacon>Eight were shot down and we got back three. <v Butch Deacon>Now we had replacement crews. <v Butch Deacon>So that essentially we replace the five guys that were killed. <v Butch Deacon>So it was a total of 17 of whom during as time went <v Butch Deacon>on for the whole period of time and we <v Butch Deacon>lost five of. <v Rita Williams>The most recent and most dramatic showdown between precision-guided missiles
<v Rita Williams>and their countermeasures came in the Mideast war of 1973. <v Rita Williams>In the air, the Soviet-made surface to air missiles used by the Egyptians <v Rita Williams>caught the highly rated Israeli Air Force by surprise. <v Rita Williams>Without the means to jam the missile's radar, 90 Israeli planes <v Rita Williams>were shot down in the first two days alone. <v Rita Williams>And what was happening on the ground was just as surprising. <v Rita Williams>For the first time in the history of warfare and complete safe tanks alone <v Rita Williams>and one Egyptian wire-guided missiles wiped out 200 tanks <v Rita Williams>in one day. The outcome of the war seems certain. <v Rita Williams>But then the United States started supplying Israel with effective countermeasures. <v Rita Williams>Frantic calls from the Israeli embassy came directly to many Bay Area firms. <v Rita Williams>One of the leading EW companies located in Palo Alto told us it <v Rita Williams>cleaned its shelves of certain electronic components within hours after the <v Rita Williams>first shots were fired in the Middle East. <v Rita Williams>A team of technicians from another firm, MBA Associates, were on a plane
Evening Edition; Electronic Warfare
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KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
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KQED (San Francisco, California)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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An in-depth look at San Francisco's Silicon Valley's secretive electronic warfare industry
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Producing Organization: KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
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Chicago: “Evening Edition; Electronic Warfare,” 1979-00-00, KQED, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 27, 2022,
MLA: “Evening Edition; Electronic Warfare.” 1979-00-00. KQED, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 27, 2022. <>.
APA: Evening Edition; Electronic Warfare. Boston, MA: KQED, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from