F-117, Honeywell and Northrop Grumman Testbeds, NGJ-MB And More At Work During Northern Edge

F-117, Honeywell and Northrop Grumman Testbeds, NGJ-MB And More At Work During Northern Edge


F-117, Honeywell Boeing 757 and Northrop Grumman CRJ throughout NE 23-1 (All photographs credit score: Dyllen Patillo @a10patillo)

Apart from the F-117 Nighthawk Stealth jets, different actually fascinating property and methods took half in Northern Edge (NE 23-1) train in Alaska.

As reported intimately in a previous article, earlier this month, U.S. Air Pressure F-117 Nighthawks from Tonopah Check Vary have taken half in train Northern Edge 23 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. NE is a series of joint, multinational and multi-domain operations designed to implement high-end, sensible struggle fighter coaching, develop and enhance joint interoperability, and improve the fight readiness of taking part forces.

One of many two F-117s collaborating in NE 23-1.

Northern Edge’s iteration this 12 months – designated 23-1 – from Might 4 to Might 19, 2023, was carried out throughout the Joint Pacific-Alaska Vary Advanced (JPARC) and the Gulf of Alaska, with the first working bases being Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Eielson Air Pressure Base. In accordance with the Pacific Air Forces, together with hundreds of U.S. service members, 5 ships and greater than 150 plane participated in Northern Edge 23-1. Alaska serves as a gateway to the Pacific area, a ahead working location for fast response and energy projection within the Indo-Pacific theater says the official press launch.

“That is the biggest and most complicated Northern Edge train we’ve ever developed,” mentioned U.S. Air Pressure Brig. Gen. David Piffarerio, NE 23-1 train director. “We introduced the most effective tacticians from each service to incorporate the Guard and Reserve in addition to our allies from the UK and Australia”.

RAAF E-7A Wedgetail.

The truth is, historically a U.S. solely occasion, NE 23-1 for the primary time included property from the UK and Australia, in addition to, check plane from U.S. aerospace industries, “to conduct high-end coaching and experimentation to reassure Allies and Companions that the U.S. is dedicated to sustaining regional stability.”

Certainly, NE has all the time been the premier U.S. train for testing new “{hardware}”, the check mattress for new systems and capabilities to be evaluated in sensible fight eventualities as a part of their preliminary, culminating and milestone assessments.

VX-9 “Vandy 1” Tremendous Hornet BuNo 166673.

We obtained a more in-depth have a look at all of the plane that took half within the drills due to images taken by photographer Dyllen Patillo.

Initially, one in every of photographs taken by Dyllen, allowed us to determine a minimum of one of many F-117s: though the markings are painted over from that angle, the Nighthawk seems as being the airframe #809 (84-0809). This jet carried out its first flight on Jan. 3, 1985. In April 1999 it was deployed to Spangdahlem AB, Germany and assigned to the ninth EFS, and carried out 17 missions over the Balkans as a part of Operation Allied Force. It was (initially) retired on Apr. 22, 2008 and at the moment it was marked as ninth FS flagship (the 9 FS markings are barely however seen on the appropriate tail).

F-117 #809

Curiously, together with the army property (that included F-35s, F-22s, F-16s, F-15Es, F-117s, F/A-18E/Fs, EA-18Gs, B-1s, E-3s, KC-135s and C-17s) there have been additionally a minimum of two fairly fascinating testbed plane: Honeywell’s Boeing 757 Expertise Demonstrator and Northrop Grumman CRJ-700.

Registered N757HW, the Honeywell testbed was in-built 1982 (it’s the fifth ever 757 to be produced), entered service in 1983 and was acquired by Honeywell in 2005 for use for R&D (Analysis and Growth) duties. All through the years, the plane has undergone a number of modifications to hold out varied testing marketing campaign. The plane is provided to check something from turbine engines and mechanical methods to superior avionics software program and high-speed connectivity gear. According to Honeywell, the plane has been used earlier this 12 months to hold out a world tour to showcase the Resilient Past Visible Line of Sight Communications (BVLOS) via Honeywell and Inmarsat’s SATCOM methods and software program options. Though we don’t know what sort of mission the plane carried out throughout its keep at JBER, it appears possible that it examined safe connectivity in a seamless, dependable, and safe surroundings via a simulated real-world mission situation. BTW, we’ve reached out to each Honeywell and PACAF to be taught extra about this particular asset’s position in NE 23-1 however we haven’t obtained any suggestions but.

One other picture of the Honeywell testbed N757HW.

N805X is likely one of the three closely modified CRJ-700 owned by Northrop Grumman (the others being N804X and N806X). Equally to the well-known Raytheon’s Boeing 727 N289MT nicknamed VOODOO 1, that sports activities an F-15 nostril radome (and was used to check the AN/APG-82 Energetic Electronically Scanned Array – AESA), the Northrop Grumman’s plane can also be characterised by a peculiar “pointy” nostril and is usually used to check sensors and communication methods earlier than they’re applied into frontline fight plane. The CRJs may be reconfigured to assist completely different developmental actions: the fleet of NG testbeds has been concerned within the testing of recent radars, EW (Digital Warfare) suites, focusing on pods, missile seekers, countermeasures.


Different fascinating {hardware} at work throughout NE 23-1 contains the Legion IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track) pod carried by the F-15EX, a pod that features an IRST21 sensor in addition to datalink to construct up a “networked” battlespace the place the plane can share a typical “image” with out even turning the radar on (thus remaining “silent” from an electromagnetical perspective). This was not the primary time the F-15EX Eagle II took half in NE with the IRST pod, because the Legion was additionally carried in the course of the 2021 iteration, as reported in detail here.

F-15EX with Legion IRST pod.

No less than one of many F-15E from Nellis AFB’s Weapons Squadron carried the AN/ASQ-236 “Dragon’s Eye” Energetic Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar pods on its centerline station. Operational on the F-15E Strike Eagle fleet, and sooner or later, on Air Nationwide Guard and Air Pressure Reserve Command F-16s, the pod has beforehand been built-in on an Air Pressure Particular Operations Command AC-130 and likewise on the Air Pressure World Strike Command B-52 as a proof of idea demonstration. The AN/ASQ-236 pod is a self-contained system consisting of an antenna, inertial navigation system, and environmental cooling system. It additionally incorporates a completely automated built-in-test, or BIT, that signifies the well being of the system to the operator and upkeep crews. The antenna is connected to a positioner plate that enables it to maneuver concerning the roll axis. In accordance with NG, the pod offers Excessive-resolution Artificial Aperture Radar (SAR) maps for surveillance and goal detection; All-weather precision geo-location towards mounted, shifting and maritime targets; three place, massive sight view enhances nostril radar mounted sight view; Bomb affect evaluation evaluation; Superior radar modes developed and shared throughout Northrop Grumman’s enterprise of fifth Gen fighter radars.

An F-15E deployed from Nellis AFB reveals its centerline AN/ASQ-236 “Dragon’s Eye” pod.

One of many U.S. Navy’s EA-18G was noticed carrying two Subsequent Era Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) pods in addition to a centerline ALQ-99 pod. The NGJ-MB pod will initially be used along with the ALQ-99, changing it fully as quickly because the NGJ-LB and NGJ-HB (Excessive Band) are prepared. As already defined in detail here, the NGJ-MB, often known as the AN/ALQ-249(V)1 pod, makes use of directional emitters and AESA (lively electronically scanned array) expertise and an all-digital again finish. It additionally has digital and software-based tech embedded within the design, which will increase the power to jam and permits for fast beam steering and superior jammer modulation.

EA-18G with NGJ-MB pods.

An enormous thanks to our buddy Dyllen Patillo for sending us tons of nice photographs from NE 23-1. Be sure that to observe him on Instagram right here: @a10patillo.

David Cenciotti is a journalist based mostly in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and browse army aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and lots of others, overlaying aviation, protection, struggle, trade, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with completely different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Pressure, a personal pilot and a graduate in Pc Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.


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