The Army is beefing up its electronic warfare and offensive cyber capabilities with a new family of technology.
The service recently awarded Lockheed Martin a $75 million contract for phase two of the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare-Air Large, or MFEW-AL, program, which will give the service enhanced digital firepower through the use of a podded system on an unmanned platform.
"This is very critical because this capability will enable all the [brigade combat teams] and division commanders the ability to see deep in the battlespace" and engage targets, said Col. Kevin Finch, program manager for electronic warfare cyber at the Army's program executive office for intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors.
The pod--which can fit on an MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone--had successful flight demonstrations at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, he noted during the Association of Old Crows' Electromagnetic Spectrum Summit in May. The event was held virtually because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
"We're very excited about this capability and what it brings to the force," Finch said.
The phase two contract--which will include four engineering and manufacturing development pods--was awarded in late January but was only announced by the Consortium Management Group/Consortium for Command, Control and Communications in Cyberspace, on behalf of the Army, in April.
John Wojnar, director of cyber and electronic warfare convergence strategy at Lockheed Martin, said the 300-pound pod was built utilizing the Army's open architecture set of standards known as the C4ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards, or CMOSS.
"The customer really wanted to be able to plug-and-play various [radio frequency] antennas and other capabilities," he said in an interview. "Whether it's antennas, whether it's servers, whether it's discrete circuit cards, the intent was, 'Let's follow some well-defined standards to be able to make sure we don't find ourselves dealing with a very expensive end-of-life buy because of items becoming obsolete too quickly.'"
The pod is based on an internal research-and-development cyber and electronic warfare platform Lockheed Martin created known as Silent Crow, which also attaches to a Group 4 unmanned aerial system, Wojnar said. Group 4 systems are larger platforms that weigh more than 1,320 pounds.
Silent Crow was tested in Lakehurst, New Jersey, in July and August of last year and conducted a variety of functions including electronic support, sensing and...