NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.– U.S. Navy Sailors recently tested the validity of the Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) capability’s maintenance plans and technical manuals during a recent logistics demonstration at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland.
The Sailors participated in a 15-day test event in October conducting maintenance procedures on an NGJ-MB engineering development model test pod to include removing and reinstalling components inside the pod based on previous training. The fleet maintainers also verified step-by-step procedures from the technical manuals, validated and tested new support equipment, and provided feedback to the team.
“The demo has been invaluable, and for some of us who have been part of the Electronic Attack (EA) community for so long, it’s an honor to have the opportunity be a part of this and provide input and subject matter expertise,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Larry Basham, Electronic Attack Weapons School, NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. “It has been great to have the engineers here who designed this and the maintainers who understand the real-world application.”
The demonstration was conducted in two parts throughout the month with a reduced team of 13 to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. Participants included Navy aviation electronics technicians and maintainers from Commander Electronic Attack Wing Pacific (CVWP), located at NAS Whidbey Island, and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California; along with personnel from Raytheon Intelligence and Space; Support Equipment Team from Lakehurst, New Jersey; Airborne Electronic Attack Systems Program (PMA-234), F/A-18 & EA-18G Program (PMA-265); and NGJ Integrated Test Team, all located at NAS Patuxent River.
Danielle Raffa-Schubert, Supportability Test and Evaluation lead, who coordinated the logistics demo, said the purpose of the demo was to allow Sailors who had not seen the NGJ-MB pod to receive classroom training and then run through the procedures and manuals, while maintaining safety of the pod, aircraft and the people.
“Having the maintainers and the technicians performing all the tasks, we were able to see when there were difficulties and when tasks were performed with ease,” Raffa-Schubert said.
“There are always rumors about what the [NGJ] pod is and that it will be easier to work on than the ALQ-99 [Tactical Jamming System currently used by the fleet], but they are completely different,” Basham said. “Things that I thought would be hard based on the manuals and classroom training were easier and some things you thought would be easier weren’t.”
The NGJ-MB system, developed by Raytheon Intelligence and Space, is part of a larger NGJ system that will augment, and ultimately replace the legacy ALQ-99 currently used on the EA-18G Growler. NGJ-MB is an external jamming pod that will address advanced and emerging threats using the latest digital, software-based and Active Electronically Scanned Array technologies and will provide enhanced AEA capabilities to disrupt, deny and degrade enemy air defense and ground communication systems.
NGJ-MB capability is slated for initial operational capability in 2022.