The US Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) has improved the functionality of AN/ALQ-231 Intrepid Tiger II precision electronic warfare communications jammer pod for the US Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU), as part of efforts to bolster their warfare potential.
The system had been designed, developed and tested by the NAWCWD Joint Electronic Attack and Compatibility Office (JEACO) team, the NAWCWD Airborne Electronic Attack integrated product team and the Airborne Electronic Attack Systems and EA-6B Program Office (PMA-234) at Naval Air Systems Command.
The system was initially integrated onboard the AV-8B Harrier aircraft, without modifying the aircraft hardware or software, followed by quick reaction assessment by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 9 at NAWCWD China Lake and the Jammer Techniques Optimization group from Point Mugu.
NAWCWD JEACO operational adviser John Johnson said: "The Marines needed to secure electronic warfare as an organic capability for the MEU.
"That is why the AV-8B was the first platform to receive the Intrepid Tiger II capability."
The system was then deployed under an early operational capability to Afghanistan in May 2012, making it the first one for the MAGTF EW 2020 vision.
The MEU also launched the upgraded version of Intrepid Tiger II system, Block 1, in November 2013 with AV-8Bs, followed by its land deployment this year on board USMC F/A-18s in support of multiple combatant commands.
Claimed to be the first deployed weapon system integrated with the EW Services Architecture (EWSA), the Intrepid Tiger II is aimed at enabling a customised approach for integration onto the warfighter quicker and cheaper.
Intrepid Tiger II project lead at NAWCWD Lynne Clarke said: "The 15 to 18-month development and integration timeline is possible due to the open architecture design enabling hardware and software reuse.
"The use of an open architecture enables reuse and provides a shortened developmental timeline and reduced costs. Designing Intrepid Tiger II with interoperability in mind is important to developing a system of systems.
"It provides a phased approach to integrating with both legacy and new systems on a variety of platforms and facilitates an integration of warfighter capabilities."
Image: Intrepid Tiger II integrated onboard the F/A-18 aircraft. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy.