Electronic warfare (EW) refers to any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly unimpeded access to, the EM spectrum. EW can be applied from air, sea, land, and space by manned and unmanned systems, and can target communication, radar, or other services. EW includes three major subdivisions: Electronic Attack (EA), Electronic Protection (EP), and Electronic warfare Support (ES).
Electronic attack (EA) or electronic countermeasures (ECM) involves the use of electromagnetic energy, or counter-electromagnetic radiation weapons to attack personnel, facilities, or equipment with the intention of directly affecting, degrading, neutralizing, or destroying an enemy’s combat capability (see Joint Publication [JP] 3-09, Joint Fire Support).
EA operations can be detected by an adversary depending on his level of technological sophistication and paranoia. Many modern EA techniques are considered to be highly classified. Examples of EA include communications jamming, IADS suppression, DE/LASER attack, expendable decoys (e.g., flares and chaff), and radio controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED) systems.