Information Warfare: Pirate Radio Goes To War

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September 5, 2016: The United States has had a lot of success in Iraq using a mew Information War program developed by the U.S. Marine Corps called Vocalis. launched in January 2016, has already trained and equipped more than 220 members of the Iraqi Ground Forces Command and Counterterrorism Service with laptops, digital cameras and sets of a low-power, portable radio kit called a "radio in a box." This is a 90 kg (200 pound) portable FM radio station with a range of five kilometers first introduced in Afghanistan.

The first class of Kurdish soldiers was given the course and shown how to use it in the upcoming battle to force ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) out of Mosul. Vocalis draws on the success of Arab speaking individuals in the West who developed techniques for effectively countering Islamic terrorist Internet based propaganda to discourage Moslems from supporting or joining ISIL. In some respects this was copied from some Islamic terror groups used inexpensive and portable FM broadcasting equipment to get their message out to followers and potential supporters.

This sort of thing is nothing new. During the Cold War the U.S. military realized that ELINT (electronic intelligence aircraft) could easily be converted to carry broadcasting equipment. This was done in 1980 and this version of the EC-130E was first used in the 1991 Gulf War. These aircraft are C-130 transports that become EC-130E aircraft by loading electronic equipment and operator workstations (mounted on pallets) aboard. Antennas, attached to removable panels, are then mounted on the undercarriage door and rear cargo compartment passenger door. The installation process takes about twelve hours. Depending on the mission, between four and a dozen operators work in the aircraft. In 2005, as the U.S. realized how useful these could be in Afghanistan and Iraq, there were only six of the kits that turned C-130s into EC-130Es (four with the air force and two with the marines). These aircraft are useful in the war on terror because many rural areas have no access to local TV or radio. Islamic terrorists groups often took advantage of this to create their own mobile, and illegal, FM radio stations. By 2015 there were seven airborne radio/TV broadcasting WC-130J aircraft available. These aircraft were also found useful in some disaster relief operations where many of the local AM and FM radio stations were knocked off the air.

 


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