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Countering advanced communication threats

20 October 2021
Bathiya Senanayake (left) and an RFTEQ team member developing and testing the new CATJAT system at DSTG Edinburgh.
Bathiya Senanayake (left) and an RFTEQ team member developing and testing the new CATJAT system at DSTG Edinburgh.

DSTG is working with South Australian start-up, RFTEQ to develop next-generation jammer technologies capable of defeating radio-controlled improvised explosive devices and other communication threats.

The partnership is already yielding promising results, with the development of ‘Complex Adaptive Threat Jammer Technology, also known as CATJAT.

Integrating DSTG-designed and developed countermeasure techniques with RFTEQ’s cutting-edge digital signal processing algorithms, CATJAT is able to detect and identify advanced radio waveforms in real-time, and then generate precise, targeted jamming responses to neutralise the threats.

Currently a vehicle-based system, CATJAT has been tested in the laboratory, as well as having two successful ‘over-the-air’ trials at Woomera.

DSTG scientist and CATJAT project lead, Dr Rohit Naik says that the testing demonstrates that CATJAT’s performance is significantly better than traditional jamming techniques.

“It also demonstrates that the CATJAT system can function dynamically in real-world environments with the ability to deny advanced communication threats in real-time,” he said.

Dr Bathiya Senanayake, DSTG lead researcher and CATJAT technical advisor, has been developing technology to counter improvised threats for the last six years and says that CATJAT is a significant advancement on current technologies.

“It’s a generation ahead of current ADF kit in terms of algorithms and more powerful platforms,” he says. “

The advantages CATJAT offers over existing technology include real-time identification of threat signals; the ability to target the specific protocols of threat signals; dynamic threat response selection and resource management; and rapid response times due to a unique targeted approach to signal processing.

Funded by the Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) as part of the Counter Improvised Threats Grand Challenge, the project is developing important sovereign capability against current and emerging communication threats.

“Through this project, we’ve successfully demonstrated an innovative technology that will directly enhance the protection of Defence and security personnel and equipment,” Dr Naik says.

CATJAT has now been extended with NGTF transitional funding to further develop the range of reconfigurable techniques and capabilities, and is currently under consideration by the Defence Innovation Hub to further develop the system as a potential Australian sovereign capability.

(L-R): Rohit Naik (DSTG Project lead – CATJAT), Bathiya Senanayake (DSTG Technical Advisor – CATJAT), Kevin McConnochie (RFTEQ), Jason Wood (RFTEQ), Ben Fraser (Land Countermeasures Reprogramming Cell – support Contractor), CAPT Nicholas Clayton (Army Headquarters), David Kinnaird (RFTEQ), Richie Bower (RFTEQ), Paul Jeromel (RFTEQ), Andrew Evans (RFTEQ), John Kitchen (DSTG), WO2 David McConnell (Land Countermeasures Reprogramming Cell), Darren Bachmann (DSTG).