The Navy’s Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) program received Milestone C approval from acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Jay Stefany on June 28, the Navy announced.
This achievement will allow the program to move on to the production and deployment phase and then proceed to the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phase. The jammer is based on an external pod attached to an aircraft, with the Mid-Band pod designated AM/ALQ-249(V)1.
Raytheon Technologies [RTX] won a $1 billion contract to design, build and test the NGJ-MB in 2016 (Defense Daily, April 15, 2016).
The NGJ-MB is a portion of how the Navy plans to replace the legacy ALQ-99 tactical jammer used on EA-18G Growlers to counter and defeat enemy air defenses and communications systems. The service is splitting the NGJ into low, mid, and high-band frequencies.
The Navy said the NGJ-MB has now completed over 145 hours of developmental flight testing on the Growler and has undergone more than 3,100 hours of chamber and lab testing.
“Reaching Milestone C and entering the production phase validates the thousands of test hours and planning that our combined U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force team has contributed to this evolutionary capability, and I couldn’t be prouder,” Capt. Michael Orr, Airborne Electronic Attack Systems (PMA-234) program manager, who manages the NGJ-MB program, said in a statement.
Development, production and sustainment of the NGJ-MB is shared under a cooperative relationship between the U.S. and Australia.
In March, the Navy started a five-year Growler Capability Modification Program with aircraft manufacturer Boeing [BA] to upgrade EA-18G capabilities to support aircraft use of the NGJ-MB pod, including advanced datalinks. The company previously said it plans all Growlers to complete modifications within five years (Defense Daily, March 24).
Last December, the Navy awarded L3Harris Technologies [LHX] a $496 million contract to develop and build the Low-Band version of the NGJ (Defense Daily, Dec. 21, 2020).