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Courses in 2016

Introduction to Electronic Defence (2016)

Course Information

Dates: 04 to 08 April 2016

Course code: EEE5120Z

Venue: Menzies Seminar Room, 6th Floor, Menzies Building (Upper Campus), University of Cape Town


Course Description

The course aims to introduce the student to RF Electronic Defence. Electronic Defence (ED) is a military action whose ultimate aim is to control the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS). The objective is to exploit, reduce or prevent hostile use of the EMS while still retaining friendly use thereof. ED comprises of three main disciplines, which have found numerous electromagnetic (radio frequency (RF), optical etc.) as well as acoustic civilian and military applications.

  1. Electronic Support (ES), previously known as Electronic Support Measures (ESM).
  2. Electronic Attack (EA), previously known as Electronic Countermeasures (ECM).
  3. Electronic Protection (EP), previously known as Electronic Counter-Countermeasures (ECCM).

Introduction to
Defence 2016

Course Overview

The course aims to introduce the student to RF Electronic Defence. A good prior knowledge on the topics of digital signal processing, electromagnetics, mathematics and statistics is highly recommended for this course. A good knowledge on subjects of radar and communications is also required. Students should be competent in using scientific programming languages such as Matlab, Octave or Python.

Students have to master fundamental concepts in Electronic Defence on a high-level (identification of tactics and applications) as well as on a detail level (the design of a suitable detector to required specifications). Students are required to link theoretical concepts in Electronic Defence to typical applications and to solve problems of an engineering nature.

The following themes are covered:

  1. The history of electronic defence: To review how the developments in radar gave rise to Electronic Defence and how critical conflicts such as World War II, the Six-Day war and the first Gulf war shaped this kind of defence.
  2. An overview of electronic defence: Given the historical developments of advanced sensors, the student will be exposed to the formal definition of Electronic Defence and the three main disciplines thereof. After a brief review of relevant radar and communication concepts, students will learn about the application of ED.
  3. Electronic support: The student will learn about the various approaches to ES against radar and communications systems. Here, the technical details and capabilities are presented that make each approach unique. LPI radar will be a case study and search, detection, location and classification principles will be applied.
  4. Electronic attack: The student will learn about the various EA techniques and the radar or communications components that are targeted. Here, the technical details of EA are presented. Both radar and communication jamming will be cases of study.
  5. Electronic protection: The student will learn about the various aspects of EP. Here, the technical details of EP are presented.


Ferdie Potgieter has worked in Electronic Warfare (EW) at the Defence Peace, Safety and Security (DPSS) at the CSIR since 2002.

As a senior researcher, his work involves Electronic Warfare Support (ES) research and development on the detection, location and classification of communication and radar emitters.

He is also active in the field of Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurement systems and signal analysis and has published IEEE conference papers on emitter classification.

He presents an introductory EW course in the UCT Radar Masters programme and lectures at the annual SAAF EW systems course. His research interests include signal processing, pattern recognition, compressive sensing and sub Nyquist sampling.


Jacobus Vlok joined the CSIR in 2007 after completing his M.Eng (Electronic) at the University of Pretoria in communication theory. He completed his PhD in 2014 at the University of Tasmania in detection of weak communication signals.

His research interests include digital communication, channel coding, detection and estimation, and statistical signal processing applied in the electronic warfare domain. He has worked on projects such as the evaluation of digital communication performance in a jamming environment, electronic attack of radar and wireless communication networks, and blind detection of weak signals.