Air Force, Navy team up to acquire new counter radio-controlled explosive technology

A new Joint Counter-Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare technology will perform a range of different jamming functions on a single device.

The Air Force and Navy have teamed up to a acquire new electronic warfare jamming device to identify and block IED attacks, service officials said.

As a response to new and increased Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices RCIED threats, the Air Force and the Navy will both be trading in their current Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (CREW) systems for the new Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare Increment One Built One (JCREW I1B1) systems.

“The Navy and Air Force will be fielding the new systems to replace the legacy systems,” said Alan Baribeau, a public affairs representative for the Naval Sea Systems Command.

The new JCREW systems will work to protect both marines and airmen from radio controlled explosives while in the field.  

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Herndon, Va., initially developed CREW systems to prevent RCIEDs from receiving signals which are intended to detonate an explosive.  This is done by emitting frequencies that interfere with the signal being sent from a controller to an RCIED.

The current CREW systems are used to protect against RCIED threats while a soldier is on foot, in a vehicle, or in a permanent military structure.  However, separate devices are required for each type of use.

The new JCREW technology will integrate existing CREW systems into one open-architecture platform to provide easier defense from RCIED threats.

“The Full Rate Production contract for JCREW is providing advanced capability leveraging open architecture of system to rapidly keep pace with evolving IED threats,” said Baribeau.

Integrating the capabilities of these three systems into one requires increasing the similarities between the dismounted, mobiles, and fixed systems, so different features can be easily navigable in one device.

JCREW I1B1 systems are also software programmable, have reduced maintenance expenses, and have a simpler updating process.

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—on July 31st 

Work on these systems will be done in San Diego, Calif. (97%) and Sierra Vista, Ariz. (3%).  Both the Navy and Air Force are expecting to have the improved CREW capabilities by August 2022.