|Type: Boeing NKC-135E Stratotanker (717-100A)|
Registration: 53-8350 (left) & 55-3123 (right)
A suite of electronic equipment has been outfitted in a modified NKC-135 aircraft, now called the "Big Crow" EW Flying Laboratory, with the capability of generating electronic warfare (EW) threat environments and performing realtime data analysis on DoD materiel. The Big Crow NKC-135 aircraft provides multi-Service electronic countermeasures (ECM) testing and training support. During a nine-month Program Depot Maintenance (PDM) overhaul of the Big Crow, a KC-135E was outfited and configured to serve as a large ECM aircraft as an augmentation to the existing Big Crow aircraft. Upon completion, this aircraft has essentially the same capabilities as the existing Big Crow aircraft to provide high power, long range Stand-Off Jamming that is required by DDG-51, AN/SPY-1 Radar, and SM-2 missile programs for testing in an operationally realistic electronic warfare environment.
The Big Crow EW Enhancement Program (BCEP) is predominantly a commercial-off-the-shelf packaging effort to modernize the current Big Crow NKC-135 aircraft capability, enhance its threat fidelity, and optimize test support efficiency. Equipment modernization includes the upgrade of antennas, amplifiers, and pedestals. The effort will miniaturize test equipment such as VCRs, data analyzers, modulators, pedestal controllers, receivers, and processors. The BCEP will modernize high power (HP) amplifiers; pedestals; antennas and feeds; chaff dispensers; HP I/J band amplifiers; steerable, multi-element array antennas; INS; GPS; and communications for SATCOM, telemetry, and secure encryption. The programís capability emphasizes increased reliability and economy to the user through improved data collectors, and, stand-off, escort and self-screening jammers. This capability will provide test support during the course of development as equipment is upgraded.