The AN/ALQ-249(V)1 Next Generation Jammer – Mid Band has completed its first round of Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) testing at the US Navy’s Air Combat Environmental Test and Evaluation Facility anechoic chamber at NAS Patuxent (Pax) River.
Designed to ensure the pod’s compatibility with the EA-18G Growler’s other systems, as well the pod’s functionality, data collection and performance, the 400 hours of E3 testing was conducted over a period of three months.
“This chamber test period was instrumental to the NGJ-MB Developmental Test program, and its success was the direct result of outstanding teamwork among the Program Office, Integrated Test Team, and Raytheon stakeholders,” the US Navy’s Airborne Electronic Attack Systems (PMA-234) program manager, Capt Michael Orr said in a statement. “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 program moving forward.”
The testing was conducted on NGJ-MB Engineering Development Model (EDM) pods which are designed to emulate the jamming and other capabilities of the ALQ-249(V)1. Flight testing of developmental NGJ pods is scheduled to commence by the middle of 2020, and the Milestone C decision to proceed to production is due before the end of the year.
Operational (V)1 pods will be carried in pairs by the EA-18G to provide significantly enhanced jamming capabilities in the mid band of the electromagnetic spectrum compared to the AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System (TJS) pods currently employed by US Navy and RAAF Growlers.
The MB pods will later be complemented in service by the ALQ-249(V)2 NGJ-Low Band (LB) currently being competed for by Northrop Grumman and L3Harris from 2023, and the (V)3 NGJ-high band (HB) from 2025.