The next phase of the $2 billion Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) has begun, but the US Navy already has been forced to accept a major concession as a result of technology limitations.
An ITT/Boeing team has received a $42 million contract to enter the next phase of the competition that funds projects aimed at maturing key technologies, such as advanced cooling systems.
Three other bidders - BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon - have not confirmed receiving a similar contract, but it is understood that the USN decided to award contracts to each of the four competing teams originally selected to participate in the four-year contract competition.
The jammer had originally been aimed at replacing a family of 14 vacuum tube-era ALQ-99 pods with a single pod based on an active phase array.
However, a senior industry official involved in the competition says the USN now accepts that a single pod cannot be developed to provide effective jamming across the range of required frequencies. The USN now is hoping to limit the number of pods in the NGJ family to three.
The need for three pods is not expected to affect a potential requirement to install the NGJ on the Lockheed Martin F-35B for the US Marine Corps. The key issue for the F-35 is integrating an advanced digital exciter, which can feed jamming techniques to any transmitter arrays.
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Source: Flight Daily News