Known as MALD-X, the initiative is intended to demonstrate capabilities potentially applicable to the USN’s planned MALD-N stand-in jammer, and at the same time establish an upgrade path for the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) existing MALD-J inventory. Flight demonstrations were completed on 20 August and 22 August on the Naval Air Warfare Center’s Point Mugu range.
A handheld drone signal jammer will be putting out jack relative to a land based omnidirectional antenna, as the Omni direction antenna will have access to far more power and can get hotter before being inoperable.
As it stands now the Navy’s principal airborne electronic attack systems relies on technology developed in the 1970’s: While the service has switched from the old EA-6B Prowler to the new EA-18G Growler as its electronic attack aircraft, the actual radar-jamming systems on the aircraft are largely the same. Service leaders are worried that with rapid advances by China and Russia in electromagnetic warfare will put their pilots at a major disadvantage, sooner rather than later.
According to the report, the jamming equipment was developed by the Russian military and is sophisticated enough to affect even navigation equipment with anti-jam technology and good enough to affect encrypted communications, though encryption only makes it hard to get into the drone’s control systems or sensor output. The Department of Defense declined to comment on whether any drones had crashed as a result of the jamming.
It’s very difficult to maintain wide spectrum RF jamming across a large area without an extremely large system that requires a large amount of power. It’s more economical to target certain frequencies that you might know an enemy would use, but that only works if they use those range of frequencies.
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne had announced in early March that her country would invest AUD250 million (USD190 million) to partner with the United States to develop a next-generation radar and radio cell phone jammer for the Growler that will “future-proof” the aircraft’s capabilities.