Interview with Shaun Vickers

1. You will be speaking at AOC EW Asia 2019; can you give us a brief insight into what areas you will be covering in your address?

The operational environment is changing at pace which is impacting the way that warfare is conducted. With an increasing amount of equipment accessible to forces in the operational environment, it’s vital to remember that equipment is only equipment and does not become capability unless it is fed with the correct and appropriate data, and used by trained and knowledgeable staff.

In my address, I will explore how the quantity of fielded equipment is creating vast amounts of data that can, rather than supporting the decisions maker, inhibit them, and explain the effective steps that can be taken to overcome this.

2. What do you think are the major challenges in developing the EW capabilities of Asia-Pacific nations?

Nations seeking to create or enhance their own independent EW capabilities can be inhibited through a lack of shared data and access to black boxes and their contents.

In addition, a scarcity of reprogramming skills and experience can lead to a struggle to keep pace as technology evolves extremely quickly – making it incredibly difficult to maintaining an operational advantage. This is further compounded by the lack of independent EW and intelligence databases from which to build countermeasure and EW capabilities.

An EW centre, where skills, knowledge, capabilities and operations can be focussed can help enhance a nation’s capabilities in the EW environment and help create the independence that each nation craves.

3. How has the EW landscape changed in this region over the past few years and how do you expect the future landscape to evolve?

The market for equipment utilising the electromagnetic spectrum has become increasingly congested with a greater number of actors causing operational advantage to be limited. Those actors cannot always be easily identified and can be both irregular and regular, creating confusion in an already complex landscape. Added to this is an increased threat capability, especially with the introduction of the hypersonic threat missile.

Those who operate in the EW landscape are also facing a rising tide of challenges that vary from platform protection to analysis of data to build situational awareness.

4. What technologies and drivers do you think are currently having the most significant impact on EW systems development?

The complexity of technology is creating a demand for more knowledgeable personnel that have a greater awareness and understanding of technology. The latest technology should allow us to “see more and do more” but we need to understand what we are seeing so that we can do something about it.