The US Army has begun testing a new electronic warfare (EW) payload designed to be integrated into unmanned aerial vehicles.
The drone-borne tech, called the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare – Air Large (MFEW-AL), is being assessed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey ahead of its integration into an MQ-1C Gray Eagle.
According to the service, the system features cutting-edge components to provide improved electronic attack and EW support capability to warfighters.
It also has a modular open-system approach to enable integration of modern technologies for addressing future threats.
“The MFEW-AL program office is on track to successfully meet its near-term test and evaluation requirements and equip soldiers for operational use shortly thereafter,” the army said in a press release.
The MFEW-AL is designed to allow the US Army to establish EW spectrum dominance in modern battle spaces.
It will reportedly provide commanders with a picture of the electromagnetic spectrum wherever the system flies.
The tech transmits data in real-time, saving critical time and enabling faster decision-making.
Furthermore, the MFEW-AL boasts an improved graphical user interface for ease of use.
“The soldiers are excited and appreciative of this technology because they have nothing else like it,” chief engineer Dr. Leslie Litten said.
Once testing is complete, the Gray Eagle-mounted system will undergo airworthiness evaluation in 2024 to certify that it safely operates in accordance with approved usage limits.
Initial operational testing and evaluation are expected in 2025.
Other EW Investments
US military investments in sophisticated EW systems show that it acknowledges the strategic importance of this capability in the modern world.
The massive use of attack and reconnaissance drones being witnessed in Ukraine has prompted countries around the world to invest in EW technologies.
In the US alone, several EW-related projects are currently underway, including a $4.8-million initiative by a research institute in Texas to develop a next-generation EW system for the US Air Force.
Lockheed Martin was also recently selected to build a US Army long-range, truck-mounted EW system prototype that carries advanced sensors, transmitters, and aerostat.