Technology is touching all corners of civilization, and the modern world has now proposed the scope for improvement and modification in the military. Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning algorithms, and more advanced technology are expected to modify and improve the military four-dimensionally like never before. The integration of technology has been no secret for several countries, leading to several militaries and companies from different countries actively striving toward developing advanced cognitive electronic warfare systems for future battlefield platforms. According to Markntel Advisors’ research report, “Global Cognitive Electronic Warfare Market: Forecast (2022-27),” major economies across the globe are developing electronic warfare capabilities to ensure next-generation defense mechanisms and attacking enemy targets with utmost precision to minimize collateral damage.

The talks about cognitive electronic warfare are on a constant rise as it is at a developmental stage, of which most of us can only imagine the repercussions and benefits. It is undergoing constant evolution, with various technological developments, due to the increasing importance and advancement of artificial intelligence-based electronic warfare systems and the mounting demand for enhanced situational awareness among the military forces.

What is Cognitive Electronic Warfare

In simpler words, it uses artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive computing, and machine learning algorithms to sense, protect and communicate through signals such as radio frequency and infrared or radar frequency to detect operational security issues and provides hypotheses to rectify them. With network-centric warfare taking center stage in a military operation to fulfill the rising need to jam and counter-jam the systems when needed, cognitive warfare systems, along with their wide application in military combat scenarios, have extensively grown and integrated into military operations drastically. Thus, it is a concept that combines cognitive science with electronic warfare to enhance military capabilities in the electromagnetic spectrum.

Cognitive-Electronic-WarfareCEW or Cognitive Electronic Warfare comes in use in various stages of military operations. It can be used to disrupt an adversary’s process of decision-making by manipulating the incoming information received through their electronic channels. Thus, CEW can be used to deceive, disrupt, and deny the ability to effectively communicate and coordinate the target’s action by understanding how the adversary’s electronic systems process information. To get a better idea, let’s dig into other examples of CEW:


Deception is one of the most useful techniques in warfare and has been helping countries keep themselves safe for a long time. It involves manipulating the enemy’s electronic systems and giving them false information. Thus, the above example of manipulating incoming information would be the perfect example of Deception. It can also be used to falsify the enemy’s sensor output, leading them to believe that there is no threat when there is or to hide one’s presence.

Cognitive Radar

In this technique, the military uses advanced algorithms and machine learning to modify and optimize the performance of radar systems. Through research and technological development, cognitive radar systems can further modify their parameters in real-time and maximize detection while securing minimal interference.

Jamming the Systems

Jamming is the smoothest and most effective technique, in which the enemy’s electronic systems are disrupted and interfered with by sending out electronic signals, taking away their ability to communicate and coordinate. By jamming the radio signals and other types of communication, the military can move forward without the other side having any knowledge of their troop’s location.


Spoofing is sending a mimic signal to confuse the receiver. For instance, by spoofing through the navigation system, the adversary could believe that the locations provided are correct, and this could work in the favor of the sender of mimic signals.

Cognitive Radio

In this technique, by using advanced algorithms and machine learning to optimizing the use of the electromagnetic spectrum, one can identify the scope of the improvement of overall systems performance. For instance, by monitoring the spectrum, Cognitive Radio systems can identify the underutilized frequency bands and dynamically allocate them to different electronic systems.

These techniques are currently being developed as the CEW as a whole concept is spreading through various military researches, and it is at its developmental stage.

The demand for AI-enabled warfare systems to combat dynamic threats is growing

During a battle, army officials around the world frequently run into issues with misleading signals and intercepts. Since it employs pre-programmed strategies, an adaptive electronic warfare system cannot counter new or undiscovered threat settings. So, a cognitive electronic warfare system is sufficient in such a case, in the opinion of defence experts, as it reduces potential hazards. Cognitive electronic warfare systems use machine learning algorithms to classify and evaluate electromagnetic spectrum signals emitted by adversary radars as known or unknowable threats. The main countries investing heavily in the acquisition of cutting-edge cognitive electronic warfare systems are China, the US, and Russia.

Also, the US Department of Defense budgeted USD 4 billion and USD 841 million, respectively, for research and development in AI for the fiscal years 2020 and 2021. Another big nation making a significant investment in AI-based R&D is China. The goal of the government’s electronic warfare (EW) strategy is to block, weaken, and interfere with the enemy’s electronic systems. Furthermore, artificial intelligence has emerged to handle the enormous amount of data created by sensors and communication networks.

Region Who Taken Largest Share of Cognitive Electronic Warfare Industry

In 2021, the Cognitive Electronic Warfare industry was headed by North America. The US now dominates the regional market, and this trend is expected to continue through 2027. The majority of manufacturers of cognitive electronic warfare systems, along with government organizations, are heavily investing in the development of cutting-edge technological products, like cognitive electronic warfare systems powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, in order to enhance electronic warfare capabilities and generate significant revenue.

Also, a large demand for cognitive electronic warfare systems is anticipated in the near future as a result of the US military forces’ widespread use of RF machine learning systems, IDECM programmes, etc. Yet, North America is the most technologically sophisticated region due to the widespread presence of major companies and the fierce competition among them. Companies in the region are winning contracts from end-users including government organizations and the military to create cutting-edge electronic warfare systems that can be put on a variety of platforms.

What’s Next?

With technology, AI, cognitive science, and machine learning continuously advancing, Cognitive Radio systems as a concept should increasingly overtake military operations and services. However, the technological integration of AI into warfare raises ethical concerns about using advanced technologies to manipulate others. On the other hand, it does generate the scope for further security and protection of one’s safety and the country’s protocol.

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