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Next Generation Jammer (NGJ)

Moose

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The Air Force has been developing their Electronic Attack requirement, but they have been focusing on a penetrating "stand-in" capability, and their most recent comments make it seem likely to be built off their PCA effort. In the past they've eyed drones and F-35, and there is also their MALD work.
 

Sea Skimmer2

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bring_it_on said:
Why would the NGJ making progress suddenly get the USAF to begin fielding the tactical AEA capability? One would think that if the DOD, through its capabilities review process, found some lack of AEA then the logical decision would be to increase the number of EA-18Gs with the Navy since it is the Navy which would be providing the capability to the joint forces.
Some Growlers actually are flown and maintained by USAF personal, and have been for some time. Total production of this aircraft has also crept up over the years. The USAF though is the service that has the serious communication jammer force, and is just selected the Gulfstream G550 to host an EC-130 replacement system. So certainly this is a complementary subject rather then one service or the other entirely taking over the jammer mission.

At some point an EF-35 is going to need to happen but that only makes sense late in the F-35 production run, when the majority of the actual fighter force its stealthy, the aircraft itself has less bugs, and the earlier Growlers will actually be starting to get a little old. The lack of a guy in back is probably not critical looking ahead, the evolution of the threat radars, shift to active homing threat missiles, and nature of NJG gear itself, which is very radar like, kinda limits what a human can do at this point. We've gone from radars that changefrequency several times a second for example, to ones that do it every single pulse.
 

TomcatViP

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Sea Skimmer2 said:
The lack of a guy in back is probably not critical looking ahead, the evolution of the threat radars, shift to active homing threat missiles, and nature of NJG gear itself, which is very radar like, kinda limits what a human can do at this point.
With increased automation and generalized AI, the Guy in the Back will be in all probability the one seated in front... If you need a second man to fulfill critical mission needs, that one will be indeed a second operator, not a pilot.

Illustration:

https://youtu.be/J06OmgIOdJ4
 

Foo Fighter

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Sea Skimmer2 said:
bring_it_on said:
Why would the NGJ making progress suddenly get the USAF to begin fielding the tactical AEA capability? One would think that if the DOD, through its capabilities review process, found some lack of AEA then the logical decision would be to increase the number of EA-18Gs with the Navy since it is the Navy which would be providing the capability to the joint forces.
Some Growlers actually are flown and maintained by USAF personal, and have been for some time. Total production of this aircraft has also crept up over the years. The USAF though is the service that has the serious communication jammer force, and is just selected the Gulfstream G550 to host an EC-130 replacement system. So certainly this is a complementary subject rather then one service or the other entirely taking over the jammer mission.



At some point an EF-35 is going to need to happen but that only makes sense late in the F-35 production run, when the majority of the actual fighter force its stealthy, the aircraft itself has less bugs, and the earlier Growlers will actually be starting to get a little old. The lack of a guy in back is probably not critical looking ahead, the evolution of the threat radars, shift to active homing threat missiles, and nature of NJG gear itself, which is very radar like, kinda limits what a human can do at this point. We've gone from radars that changefrequency several times a second for example, to ones that do it every single pulse.
A back seater even if virtual, for the F-35 makes sense at some stage, hopefully sooner than later if there is to be commonality. How much of an airframe extension would be required?
 

bring_it_on

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Sea Skimmer2 said:
At some point an EF-35 is going to need to happen but that only makes sense late in the F-35 production run, when the majority of the actual fighter force its stealthy, the aircraft itself has less bugs, and the earlier Growlers will actually be starting to get a little old. The lack of a guy in back is probably not critical looking ahead, the evolution of the threat radars, shift to active homing threat missiles, and nature of NJG gear itself, which is very radar like, kinda limits what a human can do at this point. We've gone from radars that changefrequency several times a second for example, to ones that do it every single pulse.
The EF-35 as cool as it sounds would still be yet another sub 500 nm (radius) stand-off AEA platform like the Growler once fitted with 2-3 of those pods.. at a time (mid to late 2020's/ early 2030s) when the USAF and the Joint forces will likely need a platform for this role that offers a combat radius and loiter at multiples of that. I think something like the CCJ or bringing the B-1 into this mission may be better.

However, if the USAF can configure the EF-35 for a different type of AEA role then it may work. The JPO disclosed that an OEM was internally working on a "Cyber pod" for the F-35 a few years back so perhaps penetrating network warfare or other AEA roles are envisioned down the road. It would be interesting for sure to see what comes out of the Joint AEA AOA as far as the mission needs in the post 2030 are concerned. There are probably transition opportunities for teh NGJ-MB and LB pods beyond the shipsets destined for Navy Growlers so perhaps we'll see movement on that front later next decade.
 

litzj

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from my speculation, at the time of Growler retirement, big platform like 6th generation jet fighter having enough room for additional equipment will take that role.
 

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litzj said:
from my speculation, at the time of Growler retirement, big platform like 6th generation jet fighter having enough room for additional equipment will take that role.
Isn't the issue, today, power generation and heat dissipation as well as "room"? I thought that is why it's a pod.
 

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Those things are issues, but they can all be achieved in an internal solution. The PTMS of the new adaptive cycle engines for example are meant to provide a significant boost in those areas.
 

bring_it_on

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NeilChapman said:
litzj said:
from my speculation, at the time of Growler retirement, big platform like 6th generation jet fighter having enough room for additional equipment will take that role.
Isn't the issue, today, power generation and heat dissipation as well as "room"? I thought that is why it's a pod.
Yup and this is why the pods will probably be mounted on the FA-XX as these things are expected to outlast the Growlers much like the previous generation pods. The Electronic Warfare and Electronic attack payloads on 5th generation fighters are actually quite robust and allow them to execute a wide number of missions while having high degree of self protection and even offensive options. One of the AEA role that these pods fill is that of stand off electronic attack so that is a different so they'll be around for a while..
 

TomcatViP

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The next growler would probably by a kin to the loyal wingman. Imagine a penetrative airframe like the B-21 or recycled B-2 (less penetrative of course) using such offboard self flying jammer pods...
What you loose in Power generation you gain in stand-in range.
 

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Dragon029 said:
Those things are issues, but they can all be achieved in an internal solution. The PTMS of the new adaptive cycle engines for example are meant to provide a significant boost in those areas.
I understood the new engines had this capability. Wasn't sure if the power generation was going to adequate.
 

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bring_it_on said:
NeilChapman said:
litzj said:
from my speculation, at the time of Growler retirement, big platform like 6th generation jet fighter having enough room for additional equipment will take that role.
Isn't the issue, today, power generation and heat dissipation as well as "room"? I thought that is why it's a pod.
Yup and this is why the pods will probably be mounted on the FA-XX as these things are expected to outlast the Growlers much like the previous generation pods. The Electronic Warfare and Electronic attack payloads on 5th generation fighters are actually quite robust and allow them to execute a wide number of missions while having high degree of self protection and even offensive options. One of the AEA role that these pods fill is that of stand off electronic attack so that is a different so they'll be around for a while..


Seem to recall B-21 was advertised with EW/EA.

When is the low band system to be ready?
 

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It makes sense for a jammer to use AESA antennas - it can disrupt many directions in extremely quick sequences without side lobes giving away teh platform to too many receivers.
We see two forward-facing and two-rear-facing AESA antennas in the graphics.

So the really, really interesting question is how wide are the bandwidths that a single or two AESA antenna could cover? Could they go from centimetric to metric wavelengths without important gaps?

Fighter AESA antennas are usually rated as X-band, and I doubt they come close to fill that entire band.

One article seems to suggest that X-band to UHF is covered
https://www.mwrf.com/mixed-signal-semiconductors/gan-based-aesas-enable-us-navy-s-next-generation-jammer
, which could mean slightly less than 3.75 cm to slightly more than 10 cm, but could also mean 2.5 to 100 cm.
Neither of which would jam a HF search or AEW radar. Basically, a Growler with NGJs and all aircraft supposed to be supported by it would be visible to a Chain Home radar station if flying high enough.

The bandwidth coverage is certainly a key characteristic for such a jammer - it could tell us which radars and radio communications it could act against.
 

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Using AESA with tapered slot / Vivaldi antennas for example, frequency bandwidths of 9:1 or 12:1 with acceptable characteristics are certainly possible. There are a lot of articles suggesting this is a typical approach to AESA jammers.

12:1 would mean for example 3.75cm to 45cm coverage.

Raytheon are still talking about low band, mid band and high band pods though. No single jammer for all possible bandwidths.
 

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BAE Systems have a patent for a combined vivaldi /meander line antenna element which could achieve 50:1 frequency range. That could be e.g. 2.5 cm to 125 cm.

https://patents.google.com/patent/US6900770B2/en
 

bring_it_on

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PaulMM (Overscan) said:
Raytheon are still talking about low band, mid band and high band pods though. No single jammer for all possible bandwidths.
Raytheon is a vendor with the US Navy doing the talking and formulating the requirements. It isn't even in contention any more for the Low Band pods. Unlike other jammers the MGJ Mid, Low and High band pods are meant to provide 360 degrees full spectrum coverage and cover the stand off jamming mission . You could manage more frequency diverse single pod designs if the power and range requirements weren't there or if you had separate stand off jamming pods and escort or stand in jamming pods. The NGJ is expected to handle all those missions and loads. With the amount of money the USN has committed to the program both in terms of R&D and procurement if they could manage the technicalities of fitting everything in one pod yet still meeting all the performance requirement for its mission types then they would have. I don't think that is possible at the moment without unacceptable cost or risk.
 

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TomcatViP said:
The next growler would probably by a kin to the loyal wingman. Imagine a penetrative airframe like the B-21 or recycled B-2 (less penetrative of course) using such offboard self flying jammer pods...
What you loose in Power generation you gain in stand-in range.
This makes sense to me. Jamming pods let someone know you're there. It doesn't seem to make sense on a stealth platform like F-35 but I'm sure there are many aspects of this I don't understand.

But a flight of autonomous 'loyal wingmen', or a flight of autonomous 'loyal wingmen' launching a swarm of MALD/MALD-J's being managed by stealth platform like B-21 with an EWO seems like a good idea.
 

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First next generation Navy’s jamming pod arrives for test preparation
Published 08:24 (GMT+0000) September 4, 2019

The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has confirmed that the first Raytheon’s Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band Engineering Development Model pod arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River after a trek across America late July to begin various verification and test procedures in preparation for the second pod delivery early fall.

The pod will start various verification and test procedures in preparation for the second pod delivery early fall, according to a Navy news release.

In 2016, the U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon a $1B Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band Engineering and Manufacturing Development contract.

According to the current information, Raytheon will deliver 15 EMD pods for mission systems testing and qualification as well as 14 aeromechanical pods for airworthiness certification.

Additionally, in the third quarter of 2019, Raytheon will utilize a Prime Power Generation Capability pod installed on a commercial Gulfstream aircraft in order to conduct power generation flight testing and risk reduction efforts in support of the initial flight clearance process.

Raytheon’s NGJ-MB architecture and design include the ability to operate at a significantly enhanced range, attack multiple targets simultaneously and advanced jamming techniques. The technology can also be scaled to other missions and platforms.

 

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