Development of the US Navy’s Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) airborne electronic attack (AEA) pod has progressed, after it completed another test phase.
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) – which is leading the pod’s development – announced that it had completed a test phase in the Air Combat Environmental Test and Evaluation Facility’s anechoic chamber at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, on March 19.
The test collected more than 400 hours of data, detailing the pod’s basic functionality, performance and electromagnetic environmental effects (E3) over a period of three months. The NGJ-MBs used in this test were Engineering Development Model (EDM) pods, developed by Raytheon at its facility in El Segundo, California, and attached to a Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack (EA) aircraft.
CAPT Michael Orr, programme manager of NAVAIR’s Airborne Electronic Attack Systems Program Office (PMA-234), said: “This chamber test period was instrumental to the NGJ-MB developmental test [programme], and its success was the direct result of outstanding teamwork among the Program Office, Integrated Test Team, and Raytheon stakeholders… Data captured during this period not only supports our initial flight clearance, but also provided lessons learned that will benefit the entire NGJ-MB test [programme] moving forward.”
The NGJ-MB system comprises two pods – otherwise referred to as a shipset – which will equip EA-18G Growler aircraft. According to NAVAIR, it “will provide significantly improved [AEA] capabilities against advanced threats in the mid-band frequency range through enhanced agility and precision within jamming assignments, increased interoperability and expanded broadband capacity for greater threat coverage against a wide variety of radio frequency emitters”.
The pod will initially augment the US Navy’s legacy ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System (TJS) until the low- and high-band components are ready to be deployed, which will enable the new platform to replace the current system.
The new pod is scheduled to enter flight testing with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) ‘Salty Dogs’ this spring, with the programme’s ‘Milestone C’ projected to be completed by the end of the US fiscal year.