Raytheon Will Develop Next Generation Jammer

 - July 12, 2013, 10:05 AM
The U.S. Navy selected Raytheon to develop the Next Generation Jammer pod for the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft. (Photo: Boeing)

Raytheon won a hard-fought contest to develop the U.S. Navy’s future airborne electronic warfare system, the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ). On July 8, the Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) said that it had awarded Raytheon a $279.4 million contract for the NGJ technology development (TD) phase.

Four companies–Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, ITT Exelis and BAE Systems–were awarded technology maturation contracts from the Navy in July 2010 and participated in the nearly three-year preliminary phase of the NGJ program. Last November, Northrop Grumman and ITT Exelis said they were combining their efforts to compete for the TD contract award. Navair selected Raytheon’s proposal from the three offers received.

ITT Exelis was originally teamed with Boeing in pursuing the NGJ program, but the two companies mutually decided to end the partnership. “We’re now partnered with the United States Navy just to serve as the overall integrator for any of these systems into the aircraft,” Mike Gibbons, Boeing vice president for F/A-18 and EA-18G programs, said in May, before Raytheon’s selection.

“We took a look at where we were in the competition and said we’re better off being in a non-competitive part of that environment, partnered with the Navy. It was a big decision for us to make when we stepped back and said we’re no longer going to be part of the competition for the Next Generation Jammer,” he added.

The NGJ will replace the long-serving and continuously updated ALQ-99 tactical jamming system on the Navy’s EA-6B Prowler and EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft. The Growler will eventually replace the EA-6B; the Navy’s goal is to field the NGJ on the Growler in Fiscal Year 2020.

Raytheon said its NGJ proposal draws from its experience as a weapon systems integrator and its development of Gallium nitride (GaN)-based active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology for electronic attack applications. Raytheon supplies the APG-79 AESA radar used on the Growler and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet; it has also supplied jamming transmitters used in the ALQ-99 pod.

“Raytheon provided the U.S. Navy with an innovative and efficient design capable of jamming current and future threats,” said Rick Yuse, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems president. “Our technology approach…leveraged our industry team’s extensive experience in combat-proven, high-reliability agile-beam RF systems designed for demanding carrier-based aircraft environments.”

Navair awarded the cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for a 22-month TD phase, which it said is the next step in the transition from “mature components into testable subsystems” and in developing a preliminary design for new jamming pods on the EA-18G. Raytheon “will be required to design and build critical technologies that will be the foundational blocks of NGJ,” the command said. “Keys to success include demonstrations of required capabilities as well as crafting a design that will be tested and flown on the Growler during the subsequent four-and-a-half-year engineering and manufacturing development phase.”

[On July 18, BAE Systems said that it had filed a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) challenging the Navy’s contract award to Raytheon for the Next Generation Jammer technology development phase. “The solution we put forward would provide the U.S. Navy with an affordable and effective way to significantly enhance current capabilities and protect our aircraft, ships and armed forces,” BAE said in an emailed statement. “We protested the award based on concerns with the Navy’s evaluation of our offering.” The GAO has 100 calendar days from the date of the filing to sustain or deny the protest. —BC]