The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Electronic Warfare Self-Protection of Battlefield Helicopters: a Holistic View

Johnny Heikell

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Electrical and Communications Engineering for public examination and debate in Auditorium S4 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 24th of March, 2005, at 12 o'clock noon.

Dissertation in PDF format (ISBN 951-22-7546-5)   [3835 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 951-22-7545-7)


The dissertation seeks to increase understanding of electronic warfare (EW) self-protection (EWSP) of battlefield helicopters by taking a holistic (systems) view on EWSP. It also evaluates the methodologies used in the research and their suitability as descriptive tools in communication between various EWSP stakeholders. The interpretation of the term "holistic view" is a central theme to the dissertation.

The research methodology is bottom-up – which is necessary since no previous work exists that could guide the study – and progresses from analysis to synthesis. Initially several methods are evaluated for presenting findings on EWSP, including high-level system simulation such as Forrester system dynamics (FSD). The analysis is conducted by a comprehensive literature review on EW and other areas that are believed to be of importance to the holistic view. Combat scenarios, intelligence, EW support, validation, training, and delays have major influence on the effectiveness of the EWSP suite; while the initial procurement decision on the EWSP suite sets limits to what can be achieved later. The need for a vast support structure for EWSP means that countries with limited intelligence and other resources become dependent on allies for support; that is, the question of EWSP effectiveness becomes political. The synthesis shows that a holistic view on EWSP of battlefield helicopters cannot be bounded in the temporal or hierarchical (organizational) senses. FSD is found to be helpful as a quality assurance tool, but refinements are needed if FSD is to be useful as a general discussion tool. The area of survivability is found to be the best match for the holistic view – for an EWSP suprasystem. A global survivability paradigm is defined as the ultimate holistic view on EWSP.

It is suggested that future research should be top-down and aiming at promoting the global survivability paradigm. The survivability paradigm would give EWSP a natural framework in which its merits can be assessed objectively.

Keywords: electronic warfare, self-protection, battlefield helicopter, survivability, susceptibility reduction, systems engineering, systems thinking, system dynamics

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© 2005 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26