Asee peer logo

An Undergraduate Course in Military Electronic Applications, aka Electronic Warfare

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Aerospace Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.176.1 - 24.176.15



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Gene L. Harding Purdue University

visit author page

GENE L. HARDING is an associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology at Purdue University, where he has taught for eleven years. He has three years of industrial experience with Agilent Technologies and 28 years of combined active and reserve service in the United States Air Force.

visit author page

Download Paper |


An Undergraduate Course in Military Electronic Applications, aka Electronic WarfareAn applications course can be a fun and interesting way to learn about an engineering discipline.The author, who has 28 years of combined active and reserve service with the United States AirForce, created a course with a focus on what the military calls electronic warfare (EW): usingthe electromagnetic spectrum for our advantage, preserving its use for friendly forces, andpreventing the enemy from doing the same. During the course, his students explored severalgenerally-applicable topics, including various types of radio frequency (RF) propagation, high-frequency PCB layout, and antenna analysis and design. They also studied several moremilitarily-focused topics, including different types of military systems used in EW, processingissues with EW signals, searching for RF transmissions, and locating hostile emitters.It is an upper-division course with an associated lab, and the author took an intentionallyaggressive approach to the labs, pushing the limits of the available test equipment and facilities.As might be expected, this approach resulted in several “failures” during lab experiments, butalso succeeded in pinpointing a number of issues to be addressed in future offerings of thecourse, and gave the students an opportunity to perform experiments that were not set up aheadof time to “guarantee” a specific outcome.The course has now been delivered twice. Although the lecture portion remained largelyunchanged between the two offerings, the lab was totally overhauled. The labs were changed tofocus on a theme of defending against radio-controlled improvised explosive devices (IEDs).The result of this change was a substantial increase in enthusiasm and engagement for the labportion of the course.This paper begins with an overview of the course, including lecture topics and laboratoryexperiments for the first offering. It then discusses the limitations in terms of test equipment andfacilities, how some of the limitations were overcome during the course while others were not,and how those limitations were dealt with in the second iteration. Both the successes andfailures/lessons learned are presented, along with some of the author’s observations of hisstudents, and suggestions for even further improvements in future offerings of the course.

Harding, G. L. (2014, June), An Undergraduate Course in Military Electronic Applications, aka Electronic Warfare Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20067

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015