The US Air Force (USAF) recently tested its “Angry Kitten” electronic countermeasures training pod on an F-16 aircraft at the Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
The test assessed the Georgia Tech Research Institute-developed electronic warfare (EW) countermeasure pod’s compatibility with aircraft systems such as Fire Control Radar.
USAF’s Effort to Operationalize Angry Kitten
The Benefield Anechoic Facility test followed a USAF operational assessment of the EW pod in August to “evaluate interoperability and identify improvements needed to convert Angry Kitten from an aggressor pod to a combat pod.”
The Angry Kitten is currently deployed with some USAF adversary air squadrons. During war games, these units play the ‘red’ aggressor role against ‘blue’ American and allied forces. Brig Gen Rob Novotny, former commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, said in 2019 that the Angry Kitten pod is “fantastic” and “makes easy tasks tough for the ‘blue’ forces.”
Self-Correcting EW System
The machine-learning software-equipped Angry Kitten pod chooses the “optimal jamming technique from available options” during an EW attack and quickly “modifies its approach if necessary.”
One of the system’s developers, research engineer Stan Sutphin said in 2013 that “we’re developing fully adaptive and autonomous capabilities that aren’t currently available in jammers.”
“We believe a cognitive electronic warfare approach, based on machine-learning algorithms and sophisticated hardware, will result in threat-response systems that offer significantly higher levels of electronic attack and electronic protection capabilities, and will provide enhanced security for US combat aircraft.”