Electronic Warfare Unit
Sir Winston Churchill called electronic warfare "The Battle of the Wizards" during the Second World War. This wizardry is practiced by one of the air force's newest units: the Electronic Warfare Unit (EWU) which will soon be moving its main base from St. Hubert to Uplands.
The field of electronic warfare has two major divisions: electronic countermeasures (ECM) and electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM). ECM is the art of rendering communications and radar ineffective by presenting false information to these systems or "jamming" the true information. ECCM is the art of nulifying the effects of ECM by means of special devices and training.
Pinetree Line radar jamming exercise.
Air-dropping bundles of "chaff" (pieces of foil which reflect radar energy) is one common ECM method. Wartime bomber crews will recall this as "window", hurled into the night sky to make enemy scope- watchers see thousands of blips in- stead of the tell-tale one caused by their bomber as it approached the target. ECM is also accomplished by transmitting various types of signals at the frequencies of both air and ground communications and radar systems.
The Electronic Warfare Unit's job is two-fold. Primarily, it must train the personnel who operate our ground and airborne radars in methods of countering enemy ECM; secondly, it must provide the maximum of practice to enable the operators to adopt the proper procedures as a reflex action. EWU's job is done by repetitively duplicating all actions an enemy might be expected to adopt.
To support this training role the unit flies specially-equipped C-119G Boxcars and CF-100 Canucks. With these aircraft EWU has the task of training aircrews of the five CF-101B Voodoo squadrons and ground radar operators, in recognizing and countering electronic countermeasures.
The C-119 aircraft, their normal cargo space packed with electronic equipment and a chaff dispenser, provide airborne ECM emissions which, directed against Pinetree Line, Newfoundland and Labrador radar sites, simulate enemy ECM action. The ECM-equipped CF-100s perform a similar function for our interceptors. A detachment stationed at Comox, equipped with CF-100s without an ECM capability, provides aerial targets for units on the west coast. The CF-100s, minus their familiar rocket pods, are provided with tip tanks for longer range and greater endurance and wing-mounted chaff dispensers. Occasionally a requirement occurs, principally for the Comox detachment, to exercise USAF bases in the northwestern United States. In addition to the unit's electronic warfare role, EWU is committed to providing target (or "faker") aircraft for radar tracking and interception practice.
Electronic warfare in the RCAF got its start in 1955 when five radio officers of No. 104 Communications Unit at St. Hubert formed an ECM training section within the unit. At that time a very basic type of ECM training was provided for crews flying CF-100s, by throwing chaff by hand from special windows cut into two C-47s. This had to suffice until the arrival in 1956 of the first of three C-119s and the first specially-equipped CF-100. By late 1957 ECM personnel had more than doubled and No. 104 KU began to bulge with its new infant. The official birthdate of EWU is 1 April 1959, the RCAF's 35th anniversary, when the personnel and aircraft which had been operating since 1955 as No. 104 KU's ECM section became an independent unit.
With its formation under the command of S/L G. D. Fowler, more air and ground crew began to arrive. In late 1960 additional ECM-trained aircrew arrived to operate the unit's CF-100 ECM aircraft. The buildup continued under its present officer commanding, W/C J. D. W. Campbell, until today EWU is one of the major flying units in the RCAF.
By CORPORAL A. L. HERRON Air Defence Command Public Relations (The Roundel Vol. 16, No. 1, Jan-Feb 1964)