Navy awards contract to Boeing to prepare EA-18G Growler electronic warfare jet to accept Next-Generation Jammer

Posted by John Keller

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 28 July 2013. U.S. Navy officials are asking combat aircraft designers at the Boeing Co. in St. Louis to prepare the company's EA-18G Growler carrier-based electronic warfare jet to carry the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ), for which Raytheon Co. was selected to build earlier this month.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are awarding a $17 million contract to the Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment for phase I of the NGJ pod hardware integration on the EA-18G aircraft, which will ensure that the EA-18G airframe and electronic interfaces are suitable for Raytheon's NGJ design.

Earlier this month the Naval Air Systems Command announced a $279.4 million contract to the Raytheon Co. Space and Airborne Systems segment in McKinney, Texas, to design the NGJ to enable the EA-18G to jam enemy radar, communications, and other RF systems.

Raytheon is starting the technology development phase of the NGJ program to replace the legacy ALQ-99 tactical jamming system on the Growler aircraft. Eventually the NGJ program may expand to include an add-on electronic warfare (EW) jammer for the F-35 Raptor joint strike fighter that would not require a specially made EW aircraft like the EA-18 Growler.

The Navy's selection of Raytheon to build the Next-Generation Jammer ended a long competition for the program that pitted Raytheon against competitors ITT Exelis/Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and BAE Systems.

Raytheon’s NGJ will provide airborne electronic attack and jamming capabilities, and will include cyber-attack capabilities that use the aircraft's active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to insert tailored data streams into enemy systems.

The Raytheon NGJ will integrate advanced electronic attack technology into the EA-18G with a combination of high-powered, agile beam-jamming techniques, and solid-state electronics. The Raytheon NGJ also will have an open-systems architecture for future upgrades.

Eventually the NGJ may be fitted to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in addition to the EA-18G and F-35, as well as to other manned aircraft. Raytheon will use the company's gallium nitride (GaN)-based AESA technologies for the NGJ design.

The goal of the NGJ technology-development phase is to develop an electronic attack system that will improve airborne electronic attack capabilities against advanced threats through enhanced agility and precision within jamming assignments, increased interoperability, and expanded broadband capability for greater threat coverage against a wide variety of radio frequency emitters, Navy officials say.

Raytheon and Boeing will work together to ensure that the NGJ is designed, and the EA-18G aircraft is modified, such that the two systems can work together seamlessly.

On these two NGJ contracts, Boeing will do the work St. Louis and should be finished by October 2014, and Raytheon will do the work in El Segundo, Calif.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Dallas; Torrance, Calif.; Clearfield, Utah; McKinney, Texas; Tucson, Ariz.; Marion, Va.; Goleta, Calif.; Forest, Miss.; and Andover, Mass., and should be finished by May 2015.

For more information contact Boeing Defense, Space & Security online at www.boeing.com/boeing/bds, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems online at www.raytheon.com/capabilities/ew, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.

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