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Emission control (EMCON)

Definition Emission Control (EMCON) is a procedure established and implemented by the military to regulate or limit overall electromagnetic radiation produced by its assets. This is done primarily to avoid detection by enemy sensors or to reduce the risk of interference among friendly systems. It is an essential technique for hiding and protecting military forces, […]


Emission Control (EMCON) is a procedure established and implemented by the military to regulate or limit overall electromagnetic radiation produced by its assets. This is done primarily to avoid detection by enemy sensors or to reduce the risk of interference among friendly systems. It is an essential technique for hiding and protecting military forces, especially in radar, radio, infrared, and other detection vulnerability areas.

Key Takeaways

  1. Emission Control (EMCON) is a standard military practice that involves the management or limiting of the electromagnetic, acoustic, and other signatures emitted by a submarine, ship, or aircraft. This practice maintains operational security and reduces the possibility of detection by the adversary’s sensors.
  2. EMCON involves different levels of control, which are determined by the operational and threat environment. It’s a nuanced process that can be enhanced or relaxed as per the requirement. Preserving communication and navigation capability while minimizing detectability is a central and challenging concept to EMCON.
  3. EMCON can also help ensure stealth and surprise during military operations. The effective use of EMCON has the potential to mislead adversaries about the operation’s intentions, size, location, and timing, adding a crucial element of uncertainty and unpredictability.


Emission Control (EMCON) is important in military operations because it concerns the management and control of electromagnetic radiation and acoustic energy from a military asset to avoid detection by enemy forces.

By controlling or limiting these emissions, forces can minimize their electromagnetic and acoustic ‘signature’, making it difficult for adversaries to locate, identify, or target them.

EMCON can therefore enhance operational security, mission effectiveness, and overall survivability.

These measures may include restricting the usage or adapting the output of radar systems, communication devices, sonar equipment, and other emission-generating sources, which all play a crucial role in military strategies when operating in potentially hostile environments.


The purpose of Emission Control (EMCON) in military operations is to minimize the detection of a military force by the enemy by controlling and managing the electronic emissions from the military unit’s systems. These emissions can come from various sources such as radio communications, radar, and other electronic systems. By effectively controlling these emissions, EMCON can help to significantly reduce the chances of the military force being detected by potential enemies.

This can be a crucial factor in maintaining the secrecy and security of the operation, which in turn can increase its chances of success. EMCON is typically used in operations where covert action is necessary, such as reconnaissance or special operations missions. In these types of operations, being detected by the enemy could lead to mission failure and potential loss of life.

Therefore, using EMCON to conceal a unit’s presence and movements can be an essential aspect of operational planning. It’s worth noting that while EMCON can greatly reduce the chance of detection, it’s not foolproof and needs to be combined with other tactics to ensure operational security. Also, EMCON comes with its own limitations and challenges, such as the restriction on the use of electronic systems that might be needed for mission accomplishment.

Examples of Emission control (EMCON)

Operation Desert Storm (1991): During the Gulf War, the U.S. military executed EMCON to control their own electronic signals. By minimizing or shutting down non-essential electronic emissions, the forces were able to reduce their detection by the enemy. This was crucial in maintaining a level of surprise and avoiding crucial systems being targeted.

US Navy Submarine Operations: U.S. Navy submarines often operate under strict EMCON conditions to avoid detection by enemy forces. By controlling emissions from radars, sonars, and communication systems, these submarines can remain hidden under the sea for months, carrying out reconnaissance or lying in wait.

Stealth Aircraft Operations: Modern stealth aircraft like the F-35 and F-22 employ EMCON as part of their operating procedures. The aircrafts’ systems are designed to minimize electronic emissions, including radio communications and radar signals. This reduces the chance of detection by enemy radar and electronic warfare systems, and allows the aircraft to carry out its mission with a higher level of survivability.

FAQs for Emission Control (EMCON)

What is Emission Control (EMCON)?

Emission Control (EMCON) is a term often used in the military to describe the protocol where tactical military units reduce or stop electric emissions to remain hidden or undetected by enemy forces.

Why is Emission Control (EMCON) important?

EMCON is vital for stealth operations. By limiting or controlling emissions, units can avoid detection by enemy radars, increasing their ability to surprise the enemy and reducing the risk of an enemy strike.

What types of emissions are usually controlled in EMCON?

The most common types of emissions controlled in EMCON include radar, sonar, radio, infrared, and other detectable signals that the unit might emit.

How does EMCON work?

EMCON works by utilizing different levels of emission control based on the situation. These levels are predetermined and can range from unrestricted emission to total emission silence.

Are civilian operations affected by EMCON?

Typically, EMCON only impacts military operations. However, some aspects of civilian communication technology could be affected during large-scale military exercises or conflicts where military EMCON procedures are in place.

Related Military Operation Terms

I think there might be some confusion with your request. Emission control (EMCON) is usually a term related to environmental science, specifically dealing with the regulation or management of pollutants emitted into the atmosphere. If you want terms related to VA (Veterans Affairs) benefits, they might be different. However, I’ll provide you with 5 terms that might be related, but please confirm if you need terms specifically related to VA benefits, or if there’s another area (like environmental science, naval operations etc.) you’re interested in.

Here is a list of five terms or concepts related to emission control, in HTML bulleted list form:


  • Air Quality Standards
  • Particulate Matter Filtering
  • Catalytic Converters
  • Cap and Trade System
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions


Sources for More Information

  • Global Security: This website provides information on a variety of security-related topics, including emission control in a military context.
  • Navy SBIR: This is a site with a deep-dive on Navy technologies, including emission control and other electronic communication methods used in the military.
  • U.S. Department of Defense: This official government website can provide authorized, authentic information about military terms and operations including emission control.
  • Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA): A member-based organization focused on communication, IT, intelligence, and global security topics. Their site includes vast resources on communication methods and strategies used in the military.

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