Military expands ability to defend against radio-controlled explosives with new JCREW system
The Air Force and Northrop Grumman are working to improve electronic warfare technologies that jam wireless ground-and-vehicle IEDs, a Pentagon announcement said.
The Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare Increment One Built One (JCREW I1B1) system will improve upon the existing Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (CREW) system in order to better defend soldiers on foot or in military vehicles or structures.
The JCREW I1B1 surpasses other counter-Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (RCIED) systems by providing more effective defense against the most forms of Improvised Explosive Device threats.
Northrup Grumman Systems Corp., Herndon, Va., initially developed CREW systems to jam radio signals sent to trigger RCIEDs. They do so by emitting frequencies that interfere with the signal transmitting from a controller to an RCIED. As a result, CREW systems provide soldiers with an essential shield from RCIEDs.
The new JCREW I1B1 is software programmable and is the first-generation system to integrate the three forms of CREW systems into one, said the Department of Defense press release.
Previously, separate CREW systems were used to protect foot soldiers, vehicles, and permanent structures. This new system combines the three existing systems by creating an open architecture that incorporates capabilities of the initial systems.
With the original systems, the device would either be attached to a backpack, vehicle, building or entry point.
The JCREW I1B1 will increase similarities between the dismounted and fixed systems, making them easier to navigate. This will also reduce maintenance expenses of the system and expand its ability to protect soldiers.
This new technology will improve a soldier’s experience with CREW systems by making software updates a simpler process and improving the ease of navigating between the three systems.
JCREW systems can also be used to protect against attacks from unmanned aircraft.
Development of the JCREW I1B1 is a joint project between the Naval Sea Systems Command and Northrop Grumman. The $57,727,948 contract was awarded to Northrup Grumman—which has options with the potential to bring the value up to $505,335,105.The initial operational test and evaluation of the JCREW I1B1 system was completed. In May of 2015.
The JCREW I1B1 systems will be developed in San Diego, Calif. and Sierra Vista, Ariz.. The work is expected to be completed by August 2020.
Morgan Cole is a freelance writer for Defense Systems