The “Angry Kitten” is far from being cuddly
In the past, Air Force electronic warfare system were built with tightly integrated hardware and software, which was efficient but required a lot of time and money to maintain. As the electronic warfare environment changes, the “Angry Kitten” design makes it easier to update or re-program the system.
Kirk claimed that in order to resist sophisticated emitters and constantly evolving electromagnetic system threats, today’s electronic warfare and electromagnetic systems must be swiftly upgraded or loaded with new software.
“The hardware and software ‘stovepipe’ solutions common across the Air Force’s enterprise make it much harder for the Air Force to adapt quickly to new electromagnetic system threats and defeat them,” he said. “AERRES is demonstrating open hardware/software solutions that allow platforms to upgrade capability by swapping hardware modules and/or software apps to change electromagnetic systems’ offensive and defensive effects.”
According to Lt. Col. Stephen Graham, the “Angry Kitten” Combat Pod operational assessment test director, the mission data file software for the self-defense jamming pod underwent an overnight upgrade throughout the two-week test to increase performance against threats each day.
Graham, the F-16CM electronic warfare test director for Air Combat Command’s Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force, says that the government-owned software makes it easy for programmers to update the software and add new mission data files immediately.
Because the data files are written in an open-source programming language, programmers can create efficient jamming strategies to counter threats with well-known radio frequency signatures.
Graham says that the methods were tested over time to make them more effective and accurate. The 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Air National Guard-Air Force Reserve Test Center, and U.S. Air Force Air Warfare Center all worked together to ensure that the latest programming methods were used.