NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. —  The Navy is planning to award a second Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot for the Next Generation Jammer in 2022 and will keep flying the legacy jammer for the foreseeable future, an official said this week.

In June, acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Jay Stefany approved the Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) for Milestone C, allowing it to move into the production and deployment phase with LRIP (Defense Daily, June 30).

The Navy is looking to succeed the legacy ALQ-99 tactical jammer used on the EA-18G Growler with the Next Generation Jammer to defeat enemy air defense and communication systems. The new effort divides the NGJ into low, mid and high-band frequencies.

During the Navy League’s annual 2021 Sea Air Space expo here, a presentation by Capt. Michael Orr, program manager of Airborne Electronic Attack Systems (PMA-234), described NGJ pods as using “the latest digital, software-based, and Active Electronically Scanned Array technologies and will provide enhanced [Airborne Electronic Attack] capabilities to disrupt, deny, and degrade enemy air defense and ground communication systems.”

Following the Milestone C division, the Navy awarded Raytheon Technologies [RTX] a $172 million contract on July 2 to buy the first three NGJ-MD LRIP I ship sets (Defense Daily, July 6).

Orr said they intend to award the next set of pods once the FY ’22 budget is approved.

“On that is an option for LRIP II of five shipsets as soon as we get the enactment of the fiscal year ‘22 budget,” Orr said.

The slide accompanying his comments said the Navy intends to exercise the option for LRIP II in “early 2022.”

Each NGJ Mid-Band version consists of two pods to be placed on stations three and nine of the Growler, which are the mid points on each wing.

Orr also said he believes the legacy ALQ-99 system will stay in service as long as the Growler does.

“The biggest misnomer I think when I came to this PMA four years ago, is everybody heard, ‘Oh NGJ is IOC’ing and then ALQ-99 goes away.’ Absolutely not. It’ll be there for as long as – in my mind probably as long as the Growler is out there.”

He said ALQ-99 will continue to support the warfighter “long after NGJ is introduced.”

PMA-234’s focus with ALQ-99 is now largely sustainment as well as “small, little incremental updates for big bangs for the buck, if you will, that you can do with the technology that’s still out there,” Orr added.

Separately, Orr’s presentation said the high-band increment of NGJ “requires further study of alternative solutions and affordability.”

The Navy is considering options for two pods set at stations two and 10, the outermost wing but it is still unfunded.

“Still having conversations about what that will entail and what capability that’ll bring in the future. But that is a future program of record,” Orr said.