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December 11, 2023 8:15 pm

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U.S. Air Force Tests ALQ-167 Angry Kitten ECM Pod On MQ-9 Reaper

Angry Kitten

Angry Kitten
The 556th Check and Analysis Squadron accomplished the primary spherical of MQ-9A Reaper floor and flight testing with the Indignant Kitten ALQ-167 Digital Countermeasures (ECM) Pod at Creech Air Pressure Base, Nevada Apr. 10-28, 2023. (U.S. Air Pressure photograph by Mr. Robert Brooks – Edited by The Aviationist)

The service is seeking to increase the mission units of the MQ-9, including a brand new Digital Assault functionality.

In a press launch printed just lately, the U.S. Air Pressure disclosed that the 556th Check and Analysis Squadron accomplished in April the primary spherical of floor and flight testing of the ALQ-167 Indignant Kitten Digital Countermeasures (ECM) pod put in on the MQ-9A Reaper at Creech Air Pressure Base, Nevada. The pod will add a new Electronic Attack capability to the Reaper’s arsenal in opposition to related floor and airborne threats.

This functionality enhances survivability for the Reaper and different pleasant forces, and complicates adversary planning efforts, says the Air Force. The check targeted on proving the idea of conducting Digital Assault from the MQ-9 to offer operational planners new power software choices when confronting Pacing Problem threats.

“The aim is to increase the mission units the MQ-9 can accomplish,” mentioned Maj. Aaron Aguilar, 556th TES assistant director of operations. “The proliferation and persistence of MQ-9s in theater permits us to fill conventional platform functionality gaps which may be current. Our aim is to enhance property that already fill this function to allow them to focus and prioritize efforts in areas they’re finest fitted to.”

The 556th TES is now seeking to the participation in future Giant Pressure Workouts (LFEs), similar to Pink Flag 23-3 and Northern Edge 2023, and integrating with the U.S. Air Pressure Weapons Faculty, additional creating Ways, Methods, and Procedures (TTPs) in opposition to complicated goal units. These LFEs are perfect for testing as they’re alternative for joint, multinational and multi-domain operations designed to offer high-end, lifelike warfare fighter coaching, and thus nearer to the actual operational situations.

“Digital Assault on the MQ-9 is a compelling functionality,” mentioned Lt. Col. Michael Chmielewski, 556th TES commander. “15 hours of persistent noise built-in with a big power package deal will have an effect on an adversary, require them to take some type of scalable motion to honor it, and will get on the coronary heart of strategic deterrence.”

The Indignant Kitten pod began its life as a coaching pod about ten years in the past, developed by the Georgia Tech Analysis Institute, simulating enemy digital assault indicators during Air Force test and training missions. Its foremost customers are the Aggressor squadrons, which use it whereas flying as Pink Air throughout LFEs in opposition to the Blue Air, including the Digital Warfare to the listing of issues that trainees need to face.

The 556th Check and Analysis Squadron accomplished the primary spherical of MQ-9A Reaper floor and flight testing with the Indignant Kitten ALQ-167 Digital Countermeasures (ECM) Pod at Creech Air Pressure Base, Nevada Apr. 10-28, 2023. (U.S. Air Pressure photograph by Mr. Robert Brooks)

Given the success of the pod in coaching and demonstrated potential to be shortly reprogrammed, final yr Air Fight Command advisable four pods be converted into combat pods to offer assault capabilities in opposition to enemy radio frequency menace methods, as an alternative of simulating them. Throughout a two-week check, the self-defense jamming pod’s mission information file software program was up to date in a single day to enhance efficiency seen in opposition to threats every day.

“The {hardware} and software program stovepipe options prevalent all through the Air Pressure enterprise considerably impair the Air Pressure’s potential to shortly adapt and defeat new rising electromagnetic methods threats,” mentioned final yr Keith Kirk, App-Enabled Quickly Reprogrammable Digital warfare/electromagnetic Programs program supervisor. “AERRES is demonstrating open {hardware}/software program options that permit platforms to improve functionality by swapping {hardware} modules and/or software program apps to alter electromagnetic methods offensive and defensive results.”

The success of the pod can be because of the expertise utilized by the Georgia Tech Analysis Institute. Indignant Kitten, in actual fact, leverages industrial electronics and machine studying for a cognitive Electronic Warfare approach, selecting the optimum jamming approach and adapting its response primarily based on the effectiveness in opposition to the menace, in addition to responding to the adversary’s use of digital assault methods.

In the identical press launch, the Air Pressure additionally talked about different testing actions at present ongoing to make the Reaper more relevant in future scenarios. In truth, earlier in April, the 556th TES executed a Chilly Built-in Fight Activate an MQ-9 which included simultaneous refueling and rearming of 4 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The occasion took lower than 25 minutes, crushing the usual three-hour flip time for the RPA and solely including 4 minutes to the beforehand demonstrated speedy refuel procedures that didn’t embody weapon reloading.

“The Chilly Built-in Fight Flip furthers our validation efforts on the MQ-9 agile fight employment mannequin and additional maximizes the MQ-9’s relevancy throughout the continuum of strategic competitors and the phases of fight operations in all theaters that require agile operations,” mentioned Lt. Col. Chmielewski.

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist primarily based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally finding out to attain a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT methods utilized to the world of navy operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.

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