The US Army has completed the integration and testing of an electronic warfare (EW) capability on board its General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned air vehicle.

The Networked Electronic Warfare Remotely Operated (NERO) system, derived from the Communications Electronic Attack Surveillance and Reconnaissance (CEASAR) jammer used on the manned Beechcraft C-12 aircraft, was adapted to be used on the UAV.

The testing took place from 2-19 June at Dugway Proving Ground, in Utah, and follows two years of engineering analysis and integration work.

Gray Eagle NERO FS US Army

US Army

The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) funded the effort. Other partners included the project manager for the army’s UAV programme; the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indiana; Raytheon and General Atomics.

NERO flew on the Gray Eagle for 32h during the testing and 20h of this was with the jammer active.

“The NERO capability may well be part of the army’s future Integrated Electronic Warfare System, if it meets the army warfighter’s requirements,” Col Jim Ekvall, chief of the army’s Electronic Warfare Division at the Pentagon, says.

“Airborne electronic attack provides an enormous amount of support to troops on the ground, and with the NERO payload on a UAV, mission times are increased and are more cost effective for the army.”

Gray Eagle NERO US Army FS 2

US Army

The jammer was able to operate at full power with no impact on the UAV, according to Clay Ogden, an expert on airborne electronic attack programmes for the Army's Electronic Warfare Division.

“This demonstrated the viability of a Gray Eagle-based high-powered jamming capability to support the army’s EW counter-communications and broadcasting EW requirements in the future,” he adds.

“Results of the flight testing will inform development of the army’s organic Multi-Function Electronic Warfare capability, which is an integral part of the integrated EW system of the future.”