The pod that protects pilots
Next-Gen Jammer: Made to dominate the contested spectrum
The United States' adversaries are making progress in electronic warfare.
According to the 2018 report from the National Defense Strategy Commission, Russia and China’s focus on “acquiring capabilities to overcome America’s technological edge and operational reach” has eroded the U.S.' military advantage in a number of areas, including electronic warfare.
The Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band, or NGJ-MB, from Raytheon Technologies will be used on the EA-18G Growler beginning in 2022. The new jammer is one way the U.S. Navy will address those new threats.
“The pod [is being put] through the ringer,” said Ernest Winston, a senior manager at Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business. “Our technical knowledge and build strategy – which at its core was based on risk reduction – has been essential as we work through the development phase.”
With the pod onboard, Growler pilots can rapidly identify and defeat hostile actors in highly contested electromagnetic spectrum environments. Its linchpin is its active electronically scanned arrays, or AESAs, which radiate high power-jamming energy to turn out the enemy's lights.
“(NGJ Mid-Band) is a powerhouse,” said Dan Theisen, a director at Raytheon Intelligence & Space, adding that the NGJ Mid-Band jamming system has increased capacity and power over the current system.
NGJ-MB uses agile AESA antenna technology and an all-digital back end. It also has digital and software-based tech embedded in the design, which increases the ability to jam and allows for rapid beam steering and advanced jammer modulation.
As for the future, NGJ-MB's open systems architecture allows the system’s hardware and software to be upgraded quickly. A flexible design is crucial to match and defeat evolving sensing and jamming technologies in the electromagnetic spectrum. It can also house other offensive and defensive technologies to keep pilots safe.
Additionally, field modification kits can enable a variety of missions for the jammer, including communications and information operations. It could also be used on other tactical and wide-body platforms.