Northrop Grumman tested the interoperability of the Next Generation Electronic Warfare system and an active electronically scanned array radar aboard a demonstrator aircraft during the Northern Lightning Air Force exercise held in August at Volk Field Air National Guard Base in Wisconsin, C4ISRNET reported Wednesday.
NGEW is an ultrawideband system designed for use aboard the F-16 fighter jet. During the demonstration, the electronic warfare platform was found to be interoperable with the AESA radar – APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar – aboard a Canadair Regional Jet.
“You needed it to be interoperable with the other subsystems and one of those other key subsystems is the advanced AESA. Because you don’t want electronic warfare to have a negative impact on AESA, you don’t want AESA to have a negative impact on electronic warfare,” said James Conroy, vice president for navigation, targeting and survivability at Northrop.
The demonstration is part of the Air Force’s F-16 modernization efforts that seek to integrate upgrades to improve the fighter aircraft’s survivability against modern adversaries.
“During Northern Lightning we gained valuable insight on NGEW capabilities and obtained over 170 test points against both air and ground emitters,” Lt Col. Stephen Graham, F-16 electronic warfare test director of the Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force, said in an Aug. 27 news release. “We are one step closer to installing the first NGEW suite on an Eglin F-16 in less than one year.”
Conroy said Northrop will begin developmental test of NGEW on actual F-16 aircraft by spring.