Emerging technology swarms National All-Domain Warfighting Center

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt, Valentina Viglianco
  • Michigan National Guard

The Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane Division hosted Silent Swarm 22 at the National All-Domain Warfighting Center (NADWC) in Michigan, from July 31 to Aug. 13, 2022. The large scale experimentation event, sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Integrated Sensing and Cyber (OUSD R&E (IS&C)) brought together over 150 participants from multiple Department of Defense (DoD) agencies, industry, and academic organizations focused on experimentation with disruptive technologies in Electromagnetic Warfare (EW) employed on small multi-domain unmanned systems (UxS).

“It is important we conduct this event because there is technology in the commercial realm that can improve military operations,” said Curtis Webster, Michigan National Guard Joint Force Headquarters strategic planner. “The military is learning that electromagnetic spectrum technology is advancing. We can use this to our advantage and help defeat adversaries.”

Over two weeks, more than 17 technologies in electromagnetic spectrum-related capabilities were employed on small unmanned systems. These technologies included communication systems, light detection and ranging mapping devices, radio frequency sensors and signals, cyber networks, and electronic battlefield deception systems. The different technologies were assigned to operating teams that competed against each other to discover the effectiveness of overcoming simulated military obstacles.

“At this event, we want to create an environment that allows positive and constructive testing of emerging technologies for the future war fight,” said Sondra Laughlin, NSWC Crane deputy project lead for Silent Swarm. “Organizations participating in this event are learning and adjusting their systems based on what they are experiencing here.”

NSWC Crane, located in Indiana, is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.

“It’s been great having Michigan National Guard as a partner in this event,” Laughlin said. “Gaining access to the NADWC has given us a variety of ideal environments to experiment in.”

The NADWC spans Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula, encompassing the capabilities of the Camp Grayling Maneuver Training Center and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center and their combined ranges, airspace, and waterways. This system of training areas is a premier location to replicate the future operating environment, offering integrated training across all domains.

“The Michigan National Guard wants to be able to give units the option to utilize these new electromagnetic spectrum technologies while training,” Webster said. “After evaluating all these technologies, we would like to use them in future large-scale exercises like Northern Strike. We hope Silent Swarm will be a stepping stone for future partnered activities with NSWC Crane here at the NADWC.”