The latest variant of the US Marine Corps’ Intrepid Tiger II EW system has begun flight testing on the MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor.
Known as AN/ALQ-231(V)4, this new variant takes the form of an internal roll-on/roll-off installation. Previous versions of Intrepid Tiger II are based on an external pod.
Intrepid Tiger II is a precision, on-demand system designed to provide Marine Corps fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft with an organic, distributed and networked airborne EW capability that can be controlled from the cockpit or by a ground operator. The system’s open architecture design is intended to enable rapid upgrades – utilizing both government and commercial-off-the-shelf technologies and jammer techniques – to expand frequency coverage and allow for the insertion of advanced capabilities to keep pace with new threats.
The AN/ALQ-231(V) system is designed and developed by the US Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Weapons Division in conjunction with the Naval Air Systems Command’s Airborne Electronic Attack Systems and EA-6B Program Office (PMA-234); Jopana Technologies (Oxnard, CA) provides support to NAWC Weapons Division through the provision of systems hardware and engineering services for Intrepid Tiger II.
The (V)1 variant of Intrepid Tiger II fielded on the AV-8B Harrier II, F/A-18 A++/C/D Hornet and KC-130J aircraft and the (V)3 version equipping the UH-1Y Huey helicopter both use a podded payload attached to an external hardpoint. However, a podded fit was not an option for the MV-22, as the aircraft does not have traditional wing stations from which to mount external payloads. Instead, the AN/ALQ-231(V)4 variant takes the form of an internal roll-on/roll-off, rack-mounted payload controlled from a laptop in the aircraft cabin.
A first flight of this latest Intrepid Tiger II system on an MV-22 was completed in mid-June. Fleet deliveries of the (V)4 variant are scheduled to begin for the MV-22B in fiscal year (FY) 2023 to achieve initial operating capability by the end of FY 2024. The Marine Corps plans to buy 42 systems.
Following successful integration on the MV-22B, the Intrepid Tiger II team plans to further expand the (V)4 design to include a counter-radar capability on the KC-130J aircraft. The intention is to leverage much of the MV-22B technology, including the in-cabin, rack-mounted payload design. – R. Scott