More Jamming Power
Navy sharpens focus on dominating the electronic battlespace
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
Pacing Tomorrow’s Threats
continues to be effective, particularly
in asymmetric warfare that we’re see-
ing in Afghanistan and Iraq. But
when you look at some of the peer
competitor warfare scenarios, it is
losing its effectiveness. There are just
limitations of the architecture itself
where we need to move on to some-
thing that is a lot more capable.”
“The [NGJ] will not just help us
meet today’s threats, it will help us
pace tomorrow’s threats,” Fili-
powski said. “The [NGJ] is being
designed as a flexible system that
will give us the opportunities to operate in any envi-
ronment that we would be tasked to operate in, from
fighting pirates potentially all the way on through a
major contingency operation.”
The ALQ-218 receiver, which intercepts the radar
signals for the ALQ-99 to jam, “is really state of the
art,” Green said. “But we’ve got to pair it up with a
[new] tactical jamming system in order for it to be
capable against the evolving threats.”
In November, the Navy decided to integrate the NGJ
onto the EA-18G aircraft first, anticipating that the
jammer will be an externally mounted podded system,
Green said. The NGJ later will be integrated into the
Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II strike fighter as an
external pod system, at least initially, in order to field
the capability sooner than would be the case with an
internally mounted system.
“Doing things conformal or anything that’s internal
drives a lot of costs, especially for a jammer, where
you’ve got to have a significant field of view for it to do
its job,” Green said, adding that the NGJ is being considered for the A and C versions of the F- 35 as well.
The NGJ is not yet officially a program of record,
Green said, but is being treated like one.
“We try to gather a lot of data and developmental
experience of a system before we actually call it a pro-
The Navy is maturing the technology to field the Next-Generation
Jammer (NGJ) on its electronic attack aircraft by 2019.
■ A technology explosion demands a sustained effort to keep up
■ The ALQ-99 tactical jammer has reached its growth limit.
■ The NGJ will replace the ALQ-99 first on the EA-18G electronic attack aircraft.
The U.S. Navy is pushing ahead with a renewed emphasis on electronic warfare and has begun to recapitalize its fleet-wide tactical electronic
surveillance and jamming capabilities.
“Technology today is exploding all around us and there
are huge leaps in technological capabilities that could be
turned into weapons systems,” said Rear Adm. Sean R.
Filipowski, director of cyber, sensors and electronic warfare in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
The Navy has begun a technology maturation phase
in its effort to develop the Next-Generation Jammer
(NGJ) — an airborne electronic attack system
designed to replace the current ALQ-99 tactical jamming system — and is moving further in the Surface
Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP), a
phased approach to upgrade the SLQ- 32, the Navy’s
primary surface ship electronic warfare system.
The ALQ-99, initially fielded in the early 1970s with
considerable success during the Vietnam War, has been
progressively upgraded to the Improved Capabilities III
configuration currently installed on EA-18G Growler
and 32 EA-6B Prowler electronic attack aircraft.
“We’ve really reached the end of our rope when it
comes to the architecture of the ALQ-99,” said Capt. John
Green, the Navy’s program manager for airborne electronic attack and the EA-6B. “It’s an outstanding system and