Saab carried out the first flight tests with its new advanced Electronic Attack Jammer Pod (EAJP) with successful results on 4 November 2019. The pod’s interfaces with the aircraft’s hardware and software as well as cockpit control and monitoring were tested during the flight.
The purpose of Saab’s new EAJP pod is to protect aircraft against radars by sophisticated jamming functions, thereby blocking the opponent’s ability to attack them. The first flight marks an important step of the pod’s development programme.
Saab is sharpening its electronic attack capabilities and the new advanced pod is an important element of this development. The EAJP is a strong complement to the built-in electronic attack capabilities of the highly advanced on-board electronic warfare system on Saab’s new Gripen E/F fighter. It can also be used on other aircraft types. The pod forms part of Saab’s Arexis family of electronic warfare systems.
“We performed the flight tests with a Gripen fighter and this new pod is an important part of the development of our new electronic attack capability”, says Anders Carp, Senior Vice President and Head of Saab’s business area Surveillance.
Electronic warfare systems are also used for self-protection by passively detecting hostile radar systems and missiles, protecting the aircraft or platform by using active and passive countermeasures. Offensive electronic warfare, also known as electronic attack, involves actively sending jamming signals to disrupt the sensors in the enemy’s air defence systems so they do no longer constitute a threat.
Saab is a leading provider of electronic warfare systems, including sophisticated jamming technology, and has delivered advanced solutions for more than 50 years.
EAJP is available for a variety of aircraft types, and is earmarked for the Gripen E/F currently in development. The jamming and electronic capabilities of EAJP will complement and augment those of the Gripen E/F’s advanced internal self-protection suite. In service, EAJP could be carried by select aircraft to act as EW escorts in a similar role to that currently undertaken by the U.S. Navy’s EA-18G Growler.
There are a number of international EW/defense suppression requirements that could be answered by the EAJP. Germany, for instance, has a future need for such a capability that could be answered by pod-equipped Typhoons.
Both EAJP and the Gripen E/F defensive aids system are part of the Saab Arexis family of EW systems and capabilities, which was first publicized at the DSEI show in London in 2017. An Arexis pod displayed at the time had large fins to house VHF/UHF antennas, with L- and S-band e-scan arrays in the front and rear of the pod. However, the pod that is under test is more slender and is finless. It is around 4 meters (13 feet) long and weighs around 350 kg (770 pounds).
In addition to the EW/EA systems, the development of air-launched decoys carrying EW payloads and an advanced missionized rear cockpit also fall under the Arexis umbrella. Saab has been one of the pioneers of gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor technology for both radars and EW systems, and this is incorporated in the form of the electronically scanned antennas that provide a directional jamming capability.
In the Gripen internal installation, the system has AESA ECM antennas mounted fore and aft in the wingtip pods and tail fin fairing. Radar-warning receiver antennas are located under the forward fuselage and in the wingtip pods. The wingtip pods also house ultra-wideband digital receiver/exciters and digital radio frequency memory devices.