thumbnail of Evening Edition; Electronic Warfare
Transcript
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
<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
Title
Evening Edition; Electronic Warfare
Producing Organization
KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
KQED (San Francisco, California)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/55-hx15m62n63
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/55-hx15m62n63).
Description
Episode Description
An in-depth look at San Francisco's Silicon Valley's secretive electronic warfare industry
Created Date
1979-00-00
Asset type
Episode
Media type
Moving Image
Duration
00:28:20
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Credits
Producing Organization: KQED-TV (Television station : San Francisco, Calif.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
KQED
Identifier: 44;26727 (KQED)
Format: application/mxf
Duration: 0:30:00
KQED
Identifier: cpb-aacip-55-38w9h8cz (GUID)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Dub
Duration: 0:30:00
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: 79084nwt-arch (Peabody Object Identifier)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 0:28:16
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Citations
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, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-55-hx15m62n63.
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. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-55-hx15m62n63>.
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 http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-55-hx15m62n63