SAN ANTONIO — Oct. 13, 2020 — The System Performance and Real Time Analysis (SPARTA), an advanced electronic warfare (EW) measurement and analysis software system developed by Southwest Research Institute, was recognized by R&D World magazine as one of the 100 most significant innovations of 2020.
Defense systems on fighter jets and critical aircraft use electronic countermeasures (ECM) that emit electronic smoke screens to thwart radar or other detection systems to deny accurate targeting information to an enemy. SPARTA evaluates these defense systems to ensure electronic countermeasures send a correct countersignal for a given radar “ding.”
“Because current electronic countermeasure systems are inadequate, we developed SPARTA to better determine if today’s most advanced jammers are accurately generating desired responses,” said Finley Hicks, a staff engineer in SwRI’s Defense and Intelligence Solutions Division. “SwRI leadership felt so strongly about protecting the crew of our fighter jets, they agreed to internally fund the development of this system.”
Depending on the scenario, ECMs will create the illusion of multiple targets or make the real target disappear or move about randomly to protect aircraft from guided missiles. Jamming also creates radio signals to disrupt communications, creating electronic noise that degrades or denies targeting capabilities.
“Conventional electronic tester systems struggle to determine if anti-radar jammer systems give the correct response for any given radar stimulus,” Hicks said. “SPARTA, however, measures every parameter — even in a highly congested and noisy electromagnetic spectrum. This represent a leap forward in ECM processing, analysis, visualization and reporting capabilities.”
The system provides automated and manual real-time EW analysis. It can evaluate systems during the