Boeing moving closer to deploying next-generation electronic warfare (EW) airborne jammer on EA-18G Growler

Oct. 19, 2021
The NGJ-MB attacks several targets simultaneously, uses advanced jamming techniques, and eases rapid upgrades with a modular, open-systems design.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – Airborne electronic warfare (EW) experts at the Boeing Co. are moving closer to deploying advanced electronic jammers for U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler EW jets under terms of a $14.5 million order announced Friday.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking the Boeing Defense Space & Security segment in St. Louis for additional test and engineering to integrate the Next Generation Jammer NGJ) midband (NGJ-MB) aboard the Boeing EA-18G Growler carrier-based electronic warfare (EW) jet.

Boeing will provide engineering to complete the development of the NGJ-MB in support of the phased replacement of the AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System currently mounted to the EA-18G aircraft. The Raytheon Technologies Corp. Intelligence and Space segment in El Segundo, Calif., designs and builds the NGJ-MB.

The NGJ-MB is an advanced electronic attack jammer that denies, disrupts, and degrades enemy communications and air-defense radar systems. Raytheon builds the EW system with a combination of agile active electronically scanned arrays (AESA) and an all-digital back end.

Related: Navy asks L3Harris for 19 AN/ALQ-214 A(V)4 airborne electronic warfare (EW) jammers for the F/A-18 aircraft

The NGJ-MB helps the Growler aircraft operate at long ranges, attack several different targets simultaneously, use advanced electronic jamming techniques, and incorporate rapid upgrades through a modular, open systems architecture.

Raytheon delivered the first NGJ-MB pod to the Navy for testing in July 2019. The technology can scale to other missions and aircraft.

The NGJ is a tactical electronic jammer pod that replaces the 40-plus-year ALQ-99 jammer system on the EA-18G -- a version of the Navy's carrier-based two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet jet fighter-bomber that is modified specially for electronic warfare.

Related: Raytheon to build three midband airborne electronic warfare (EW) jammers for Navy EA-18G Growler aircraft

The EA-18G leads an airborne attack by disrupting enemy radar, communications, and computer networks with jamming signals and computer viruses. The aircraft also can destroy enemy radar installations with its AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM).

Raytheon's NGJ will integrate the most advanced electronic attack technology into the EA-18G, such as high-powered, agile beam-jamming techniques, and solid-state electronics to deny, degrade and disrupt enemy threats while protecting U.S. and coalition forces.

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 radar and communications systems.

Related: Navy picks Mercury Systems to provide airborne electronic warfare (EW) technology to confuse enemy radar

The NGJ also will have an open-systems architecture for future upgrades. Raytheon will use its gallium nitride (GaN)-based AESA technologies for the NGJ design.

Eventually Raytheon engineers may modify the NGJ to install it aboard the F-35 joint strike fighter, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as to other manned aircraft in addition to the EA-18G.

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.

Related: Navy prepares electronic warfare (EW) competition to develop new low-band component of aircraft jammer pod

L3Harris Technologies Inc. in Melbourne, Fla., is developing the Next Generation Jammer Low Band (NGJ-LB) in an urgent effort to develop low-band tactical radar jammers using existing technologies for low size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP) applications on the EA-18G Growler EW jet.

L3Harris Technologies won a contract last December to design and build the NGJ-LB, which experts say will be useful in jamming low-band radar systems design to detect stealth aircraft like the F-35 joint strike fighter. The NGJ-LB transmitter will fit in a pod on Station 6 of the EA-18G.

The system will enhance the performance of frequency coverage, effective isotropic radiated power, spatial coverage, spectral purity, and polarization; obtain existing contractor data related to transmitter group performance; and assess the potential to deploy an open-systems interim pod solution rapidly.

On this order Boeing will do the work at Patuxent River NAS, Md., and in St. Louis, and should be finished by September 2022. For more information contact Boeing Defense, Space & Security online at, Raytheon Intelligence and Space online at, L3Harris at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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