Raytheon to build 15 airborne electronic warfare (EW) jammer pods to help EA-18G jet disrupt enemy radar

April 3, 2023
The NGJ midband is an advanced electronic attack system that denies, disrupts, and degrades enemy communications and air-defense radar systems.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – Airborne electronic warfare (EW) experts at Raytheon Technologies Corp. will build 15 advanced electronic jammers for U.S. Navy and Australian EA-18G Growler EW jets under terms of a $650.4 million contract announced Thursday.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking the Raytheon Intelligence and Space segment in El Segundo, Calif., to build 15 low rate initial production (LRIP) Lot III Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) Mid-Band (MB) ship sets.

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

The contract covers 11 NGJ-MB systems -- two pods per ship set -- for the U.S. Navy and four for Australia, spare parts, support equipment, and data.

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

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 also can be scaled 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.

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).

Related: Raytheon to move Next Generation Jammer electronic warfare (EW) enabling technologies toward deployment

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.

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.

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

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.

The Navy also 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.

Related: Enemy jamming: U.S. military challenge of waging electronic warfare (EW) in the electromagnetic spectrum

L3Harris Technologies in Melbourne, Fla., won a contract in late 2020 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 contract Raytheon will do the work in Forest, Miss.; Dallas; and El Segundo, Calif., and should be finished by April 2024. For more information contact Raytheon Intelligence and Space online at www.raytheonintelligenceandspace.com, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.

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