Omega.net – 2004-08-17 10:43:13
(June 16, 2004) — It appears yesterday’s ECTV article on ‘false reading’ earthquakes and vast electronic interference, has prompted a response from DoD’s media department. A rather unusual announcement was released this morning, disclosing to the public for the first time, a previous top secret testing operation in the Atlantic. It is known as operation “Northern Edge.”
Cmdr. Joe Murphy, US Alaskan Command reports “a new combat system is being tested. The new testing devise is used for what is commonly known as “jamming,” the Improved Capabilities System III (ICAP III) overloads specific hostile communication bandwidths, causing users to temporarily lose service.
“Training and testing of ICAP III is a stepping-stone for the Navy,” said Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Ron Szpynda, Air Test Evaluation (VX) 9. “This is the first time we have used this system.”
VX-9’s EA-6B Prowlers are being used to test the system. The aircraft provides protection for strike aircraft, ground troops and ships, by jamming enemy radar, electronic data links and communications.
“The system floods an opposing bandwidth with more frequency than those operating systems release,” said Cmdr. Jim Winship, VX-9 branch head. “This causes users to temporarily lose service. Everything from telephones to sophisticated electronic equipment goes static, because the jammer can overwhelm the frequencies they use.”
Prowler’s ICAP III Begins Operational Evaluation
(April 15, 2004 ) — The EA-6B Prowler’s Improved Capability III Airborne Electronic Attack weapon system has been approved to begin its final and most rigorous testing. ICAP III successfully completed the Navy’s developmental technical evaluation and on April 2 it officially began operational evaluation, considered the final hurdle before a full-production approval.
During Op Eval, the Navy will take the two EA-6B ICAP III Prowler test aircraft and operate them under normal deployment conditions. Though instrumented and closely monitored, the aircraft will be maintained and flown just as are all the aircraft on a carrier. The performance of the ICAP III system, the reliability and maintainability of its components, and other system development and demonstration-defined criteria will be measured. Once the system passes Op Eval the DoD will move to approve ICAP III for full-rate production. ICAP III has been in low-rate initial production since mid-2003. The Navy will receive the first ICAP III EA-6B aircraft in early 2005.
Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 9, China Lake, Calif., will perform the Op Eval. The complete operational test will take approximately five months to conduct.
Tech Eval, conducted at Patuxent River and China Lake, ended in February with a full-system HARM – High-speed Antiradiation Missile – firing on an actual threat radar in a simulated combat scenario against real threat emitters. The missile scored a bull’s-eye on the target. A formal NAVAIR Operational Test Readiness Review was conducted on March 18, which authorized the program to transition to the operational test phase.
The Tech Eval demonstrated ICAP III’s advanced selective-reactive jamming and geolocation capabilities. Selective-reactive jamming – a new concept in electronic attack – was made possible by the advanced ICAP III receiver system and sophisticated algorithms developed by the ICAP III team. Selective-reactive jamming allows the system to focus its jamming power more effectively on specific radar frequencies and to counter modern, frequency-hopping radars designed to defeat older jamming systems.
The unique geo-location capability, which benefits from the network-centric technology of ICAP III and its time-distance interferometry algorithms, enables the system to locate emitters with targetable precision and pass that information to others in the battle management network. The new tactical displays and other crew-vehicle interfaces were also positively evaluated during the testing and contributed to the system’s “thumbs up.”
The ICAP III system is managed in the PMA-234 Program Office, part of the Program Executive Office for Tactical Aircraft located at Pax River.