Navy to enhance electronic warfare receivers on board the EA-18G aircraft

The U.S. Navy is working with Northrop Grumman to enhance the airborne electronic attack system for the AN/ALQ-218(V) 2 receiver on the EA-18G aircraft so that forces can more quickly detect enemy signals.

These updates to are designed to provide Navy warfighters with the latest generation of airborne electronic attack capabilities.  While in the field, these aircraft can be operated from the ground or the air.  They are used primarily to jam, or suppress, radars and communications to protect from, and disable, hostile signals or electronic attacks.

The AN/ALQ-218(V) 2 receiver allows the EA-18G aircraft to surpass other Navy aircraft, such as the F/A-18F, in electronic warfare capability. This system is a radar warning receiver system that provides advanced electronic support measures and an electronic intelligence sensor system.  The system enhances the Navy's ability to recognize immediate threats and provides data for longer term operational planning.

In the battlefield the AN/ALQ-218 is the first system able to detect, identify, and locate enemy sources by analyzing sources of radio frequency emissions, according to Northrop Grumman officials. This technology allows warfighters to make quicker and more intelligent decisions, which provides maximum protection to friendly forces, according to the company.

The AN/ALQ-218(V) 2 receiver provides Navy aircrew and commanders with signal intelligence gathering capabilities and situational awareness for reactive jamming of enemy systems; it’s high-powered jammer energy can be directed to specific threats and is capable of following changing enemy radar tactics, said the company.

This receiver works in conjunction with three AN/ALQ-99 radar jamming pods and a Raytheon AN/ALQ-227 communications countermeasures system to create the advanced airborne electronic attack capabilities of the EA-18G.

Additional features of the AN/ALQ-218 system include broad radio frequency range, high sensitivity and dynamic range capabilities, passive precision geolocation, specific emitter identification capabilities, and the latest generation frequency domain digital channelized receiver, said Northrop Grumman.

The AN/ALQ-218 is also installed in Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft and a number of future Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

On October 13th of this year, Northrop Grumman was awarded a $20,093,330 contract from the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division to provide additional funding in support of airborne electronic attack system enhancements for the AN/ALQ-218(V) 2 receiver on the EA-18G aircraft, a Department of Defense press release stated. 

Work on this project will be performed in Point Mugu, Calif., and is expected to be completed by July 2019.

About the Author

Morgan Cole is a freelance writer for Defense Systems

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