EA-18 Growler completes maiden flight with Next-Gen Jammer pods

Image source: U.S. Navy

The Naval Air System’s Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) initial mission system flight onboard the electronic attack aircraft EA-18 Growler on August 7, 2020, was reported by the U.S. Navy as successful.

“We witnessed a successful first flight with the NGJ-MB capability fully integrated onto the EA-18G Growler, validating the last four years of development and the extensive efforts of these last several months in preparation. I’m extremely proud of the entire Government and industry team,” said AEA Systems (PMA-234) program manager Captain Michael Orr.

The first flight was a Safety of Flight (SOF) checkout, performed to ensure that the pods could fly onboard the EA-18G safely for follow-on test flights.

The Growler, a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet, is an essential piece of aircraft for the U.S. Navy, specifically designed to aid aircrews at reaching their target without being detected.

“There was a lot of discussion on how the NGJ-MB pod would affect how the Growler handles and it was exciting to have the jet feel like any other flight,” said Lt. Jonathan Williams, VX-23 test pilot.

The NGJ-MB system was built to address consistently evolving and emerging military and technological threats. This advanced electronic attack system denies, disrupts and degrades enemy communication tools and air-defense systems.

Ultimately, it is due to replace the ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System (TJS) that still is and has been in service for decades on the EA-18 Growler. The next-gen jammer will have an enhanced range of operations, advanced jamming techniques and will introduce rapid upgrading through an open-systems architecture.

As of August 11, 2020, the NGJ-MB is set to reach Initial Operating Capability by 2022.


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