JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — A steadfast focus on equipping the warfighter and establishing Army spectrum dominance underscored this summer’s agenda of extensive testing for the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare – Air Large, or MFEW-AL, capability. It began in June with testing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and continued throughout the summer with developmental testing and Soldier Touch Points at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California and Fort Drum, New York.
As part of the Army’s offensive electronic warfare capability set, the MFEW-AL system uses leading-edge technology with a modular open-system approach that effectively adapts to changing threats. “Our ongoing commitment to fulfilling warfighters’ needs in the battlespace drives all aspects of the efforts around MFEW-AL. What was especially critical about the past couple of months is that we were able to produce successful operational flight performance,” said Product Lead, Electronic Attack Michael Acriche.
What’s more, the MFEW-AL impressed Soldiers involved in this summer’s touchpoints. From the graphical user unterface and its ease of use to how the system enabled them to see and affect things. “The Soldiers are excited and appreciative of this technology because they have nothing else like it,” said Dr. Leslie Litten, chief engineer for MFEW-AL.
Serving as an organic, airborne electronic warfare system available to maneuver commanders, MFEW-AL will enable users to see at distances farther than any other equipment. “Commanders will be getting information in near real time because MFEW brings [information] to the tactical edge,” said Litten.
This critical time savings will provide users the ability to plan missions in short order — giving them decision advantage over adversaries.
The MFEW-AL mounts to an aircraft to provide commanders a picture of the electromagnetic spectrum wherever the system flies. MC-12W Liberty aircraft served as the test platform for each event this summer. Originally, MFEW-AL was trialed on a specialized Gray Eagle engineering aircraft and later a Twin Otter — logging a combined total of over 200 flight hours. Testing on various platforms showcases the MFEW-AL’s platform agnostic capacity.
Next up, the MFEW-AL team plans to formally integrate the MFEW-AL onto an MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system culminating in testing to obtain airworthiness certification — a permit that recognizes the system safely operates in accordance with approved usage limits — in fiscal year 24. Then in fiscal year 25, the team plans to execute the initial operational test and evaluation of the MFEW-AL.
The MFEW-AL program office is on track to successfully meet its near-term test and evaluation requirements and equip soldiers for operational use shortly thereafter.