The US Navy is going ahead with its Next Generation Jammer program, but if and when the F-35 gets that hardware is very much in doubt. The service is going to have the EA-18G operating in the fleet through the mid-2030s--but what comes after that could be very different from what we currently fly.
Read the full article here.
The future of electronic warfare might not be single large platforms, says Captain John Green, the Navy's airborne electronic attack program manager. Instead it could very well be dispersed unmanned platforms or manned tactical aircraft carrying a jammer pod--but those pods might be controlled remotely from the ground or from a Growler.
It's already happening, the US Marine Corps' Intrepid Tiger II, which the service built in-house, will fly on the weapons station of a Boeing AV-8B Harrier or F/A-18A/B/C/D in Afghanistan this summer. But the pilot won't operate the pod; the Marines on the ground will use the pod via a data-link and remote control.
Another interesting fact about the Intrepid Tiger II is that the system is completely open architecture and was assembled using commercial-off-the-shelf parts by the Marines and Naval Air Systems Command. It can be pretty much upgraded or modified on a whim with little additional testing required, a senior Marine officer tells me. To top it all off, it only costs about $800,000... which is dirt cheap by Pentagon standards.
The caveat, of course, is that the Marines used Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds to cut through the red-tape... so that's why it's cheap and effective.
In other news, the Pentagon announced today that US Air Force Major General Christopher Bogdan is moving over to the F-35 program as the new deputy program director. He currently heads the KC-46 program at the Aeronautical Systems Center. So he could be the heir apparent to Vice Adm David Venlet...