Interview with Yu-Jiu Wang

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 semiconductor industry is moving much faster than EW or defense industry in general due to Moore’s Law.  Many existing EW systems and methods can be enhanced or invented with the access of latest semiconductor technologies. More importantly, sophistication in system complexity, functionalities, and performance is accomplished at the same time while the manufacturing cost is kept low. 

Ultrathin software-defined all-digital phased array technology is recently matured for early adopters. Since antenna and digital signal processing are the very core of modern EW, such technologies at a relatively low manufacturing cost allow the massive employment of EW systems, and create brand new ways of EW tactics ever existed. We will explain what opportunities and threats such technology suggests.

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

Unlike most area in America or Europe, east/south-east/south Asian has the highest population density in the world, occupied by a wide range of nationalities. The usage of EM spectrum in these areas is not in concord nor strictly regulated/defined in many countries. This makes it one of the most EM-polluted areas in the world.

In addition, the military stress and conflicts between mainland Eurasia and the first island chain have been dramatically intensified in the last three years.  Such technological and military complexity set the fundamental challenges, and are the major problems not need to be addressed to develop joint EW operations in Asia-Pacific.

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?

Many Asian countries have invested more funding on EW equipment due to increasing regional tensions.  The decision makers start to comprehend the importance of invisible EW in the role of a modern visible war. Conventional EW is also complemented by, if not included, cyberwarfare or public media control.

Pushed by the advance of technologies, we expect the number of multi-functional EW phased array equipment will become pervasive. The systems will rely on computation-intensive signal processing in both unit, local or battlefield scale. The cost of the each equipment will be a fraction of current equipment. This will logically induce a new wave of asymmetrical EW tactics.

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

We think “ultrathin software-defined all-digital phased array technology” and “massive parallel/distributed computing” will significantly impact EW systems from bottom up in the next decade. There are several implications of such technology. First of all, the ultrathin form factor makes EW equipment to be ubiquitous, instead of just several countable sites. Secondly, the whole system will be more flexible due to being software-defined at very low level (elementary signal processing), mid level (reconfigurable network), and application level (numerous competing AI agents). This will be the best of times, and also the worst of times of EW.

5.  What can delegates expect to take away from your session?

We will update the delegates the latest development regarding ultrathin phased array. We then use non-confidential projects and experimental results to help the delegates to picture the incoming future and be ready to plan for the opportunities and threats. We also welcome feedbacks and conversations from delegates.