The US Air Force (USAF) has completed the operational assessment (OA) of an updated version of the Angry Kitten combat pod electronic warfare (EW) system.

The OA was conducted as part of the app-enabled rapidly reprogrammable electronic warfare/electromagnetic systems experiment campaign, called AERRES.

Conducted in April to demonstrate rapid reprogramming between flights, the OA has been funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office.

The updated version of the Georgia Tech Research Institute-developed Angry Kitten pod simulates enemy electronic attack signals during the USAF’s test and training operations.

Experiment programme manager Keith Kirk said: “AERRES is assessing the operational utility and competitive advantages of open hardware/software architectures and standards to provide app-enabled EW/electromagnetic solutions.”

Following the success of the pod’s ability to be reprogrammed, the Air Combat Command recommended the conversion of four pods into combat pods to deliver attack capabilities against enemy radio frequency threat systems.

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The test was conducted to validate the pod’s ability to be used as an improved counterthreat system to make identifying and attacking it more difficult for aircraft operated by the US forces. 

Furthermore, the pod’s open architecture provides flexibility to update the system in accordance with changing EW environments, unlike traditional systems that needed time and funding to integrate upgrades.

Angry Kitten operational assessment test director lieutenant colonel Stephen Graham noted that the government-owned software allows programmers to update software and quickly install new mission data files.

The data files use open-source programming language to enable programmers to design jamming techniques against threats. The techniques were tested for months to enhance accuracy and efficiency.

Overall, 30 sorties were conducted by the test team to demonstrate post-flight reprogramming, to further improve effects recorded in previous flights.