By Lan Shunzheng and Wang Guijian
It is reported that the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) recently forms a new electronic warfare (EW) unit, the 301st electronic warfare company, in Camp Kengun in the southwestern city of Kumamoto.
The 80-member squadron is equipped with vehicles mounted with the Network Electronic Warfare System (NEWS) that enables the 301st to jam the opponent’s electromagnetic communication and radar signals at times of emergency.
JGSDF said it would deploy or reinforce the EW force in Kyushu, Okinawa, Rumoi, Naha and other regions in 2021, with the home base in Asaka, Tokyo Prefecture. The constant moves in “invisible domains” reveal Japan’s eagerness to seek advantages in EW.
EW refers to military confrontation with electromagnetic waves as the energy carrier and medium. The losing party will suffer a series of conditions such as the failure of the pre-warning and detection system, disruption of commanding communication, mistaken navigation, confused identification of one’s own force and enemy, and malfunction of precision-guided munition.
Japan’s EW capability used to be air-based, but now it has shifted to an equal emphasis on the air and ground. On the one hand, the country continues to develop air-based EW capabilities. Last October, it officially announced to apply the RC-2 electronic intelligence (ELINT)-gathering aircraft for military purposes to one day replace the YS-11EB reconnaissance aircraft currently in service.
The RC-2 electronic intelligence (ELINT)-gathering aircraft is a modification of the C-2 transport plane, with many EW systems installed on its flank, end of the main wing, and top of the vertical fin. The aircraft can receive digital signals with high sensitivity, quickly analyze complex signals in a real-time manner, collect information about multiple targets through the multi-beam, multi-channel receiver, and exchange information with satellites via data links.
On the other hand, Japan pays close attention to developing a land-based EW force. It proposed to form the EW unit in JGSDF as early as 2018 and set a dedicated unit at the Ministry of National Defense responsible for enhancing the JGSDF’s EW capacity. According to the relevant plan, the EW unit will expand to 450 people at the end of this year and will continue to grow.
Japan’s new moves on strengthening its defense forces in recent years have gone away ever farther from the “defense only” concept enshrined in Japan’s pacifist Constitution. After developing an aircraft carrier capable of accommodating helicopters and the regional air-defense anti-missile forces, the JSDF’s development of new combat forces in such domains as outer space, cyberspace and EW will add great uncertainty to regional security.