The U.S. Navy’s anti-improvised explosive technology has achieved a significant milestone, surpassing expectations as the program reaches full operational capability. With its impending rollout, warfighters will soon have some serious backup against sneaky threats—whether in mounted, dismounted, or fixed site configurations.

The Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) Electronic Warfare (JCREW) Increment One Block One (I1B1) program has achieved full operational capability ahead of schedule.

Advanced and Versatile Family of Systems

Over the years, electronic warfare systems have played a crucial role in countering the ever-evolving threats posed by RCIEDs. The JCREW I1B1 program represents a significant leap forward compared to older systems, providing enhanced capabilities and protection for warfighters.

Mounted, dismounted, and fixed site systems form the backbone of JCREW I1B1, offering comprehensive defense against RCIEDs. The mounted systems safeguard mobile ground vehicles, while dismounted systems, known as “Manpack” systems, are carried by warfighters to protect them during operations. The fixed site systems, on the other hand, extend protection to temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent facilities, including compounds, airfields, buildings, and guard posts.

Captain Jon Haase, Expeditionary Missions program manager, emphasized the significance of achieving full operational capability, enabling the warfighter to effectively leverage this advanced technology across multiple domains. The JCREW I1B1 program’s success reflects the dedication to empowering and safeguarding those on the frontlines.

JCREW I1B1 backpack (Image source: DVIDS)

The Evolution of JCREW I1B1

The JCREW I1B1’s development traces back to a contract awarded to Northrop Grumman by the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in October 2009, initially known as JCREW 3.3. Over the years, the program evolved into JCREW I1B1, securing additional funding of $14.1 million in 2013 to complete development. The aim was to create a next-generation system capable of shielding warfighters, vehicles, watercraft, and permanent structures from the threat of RCIEDs.

The program’s success lies in its comprehensive features, including a full government-owned technical data package, open architecture hardware, upgradable software and firmware, and integrated test mechanisms for operational readiness verification without external equipment.

Reaching full operational capability signifies meeting the Navy’s inventory requirements, and fleet operators are trained to employ and maintain the system effectively. A robust supply support infrastructure featuring a government-owned-and-operated repair depot ensures continuity and reliability.

Global Reach: Extending Protection to Allied Nations

The impact of the JCREW I1B1 program is not limited to the U.S. Navy and Air Force; it extends to partner countries like Australia and New Zealand, where the system is currently employed. The collaborative effort in safeguarding forces against RCIED threats demonstrates the significance of international cooperation in tackling shared security challenges.

(Image source: Twitter)

The success of the JCREW I1B1 program is part of the larger vision of the Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC). PEO USC plays a pivotal role in designing, developing, building, maintaining, and modernizing a wide range of critical naval systems. From unmanned maritime systems to mine warfare systems, special warfare systems, expeditionary warfare systems, and small surface combatants, PEO USC contributes to enhancing the Navy’s capabilities and ensuring the safety and effectiveness of its operations.

A Leap Forward in Electronic Warfare Compared to its Predecessors

One of the most notable differences between the JCREW I1B1 and its predecessors lies in the program’s comprehensive and versatile family of systems. Unlike previous electronic warfare systems, the JCREW I1B1 comprises mounted, dismounted (Manpack), and fixed site systems catering to various operational needs. This adaptability alone ensures that warfighters can be protected in multiple scenarios, from mobile ground vehicles to temporary and permanent facilities.

In contrast to older systems, the JCREW I1B1 program boasts an integrated test mechanism that verifies operational readiness without relying on external test equipment. This built-in capability streamlines maintenance procedures and reduces logistical complexities, ensuring that the system is ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice. The efficiency and readiness offered by this integrated testing significantly enhance the program’s operational effectiveness.

Moreover, JCREW I1B1’s open architecture and upgradable software present a stark departure from older systems that might have been constrained by closed architectures and limited upgrade options. This feature enables the program to keep pace with rapidly evolving threats and adapt to emerging challenges effectively. Warfighters can benefit from the latest technological advancements and improvements through software updates, ensuring the technology remains cutting-edge throughout its operational lifespan.

While older systems might have been specialized in countering specific types of RCIED threats, this latest anti-anti-improvised explosive technology offers comprehensive protection against a wide range of these improvised explosive devices. Its three capabilities, mounted, dismounted, and fixed site systems, cater to different scenarios, effectively ensuring that warfighters and infrastructure are safeguarded from potential threats. Thus, offering a holistic approach significantly improves the limited scope of older systems.

The JCREW I1B1 program’s international impact sets it apart from older systems, as it is employed not only by the U.S. Navy and Air Force but also by partner countries like Australia and New Zealand. This collaboration extends the protection provided by the program beyond U.S. forces, fostering international cooperation in countering RCIED threats. Its global adoption showcases the confidence and trust placed in this advanced electronic warfare system.

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In conclusion, the JCREW I1B1 program’s full operational capability marks a significant milestone in protecting warfighters against RCIED threats. The family of systems, tailored for mounted, dismounted, and fixed site applications, enhance operational capabilities in diverse scenarios. As a testament to international cooperation, the program extends its impact beyond U.S. forces to the defense of partner countries. The success of the JCREW I1B1 program exemplifies the dedication to advancing cutting-edge solutions for the safety and security of those serving on the frontlines.