Boeing is being awarded a $17 million contract to help support the integration of Raytheon's next generation jammer (NGJ) pod onto its EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.
"Boeing efforts will include technical, programmatic and logistics efforts, as well as overall systems engineering management to ensure that the NGJ subsystem is ready for entry into the planned engineering, manufacturing and development [EMD] phase," the company says. "Boeing will work with the NGJ prime contractor to seamlessly integrate the NGJ subsystem with the EA-18G's existing avionics suite."
The NGJ recently entered a 22-month technology development phase with the US Navy. Subsequently, the programme will enter a 4.5-year EMD phase. The system is expected to become operational with the USN in fiscal year 2020, when it is slated to start replacing the increasingly obsolescent ALQ-99 mid-band jamming pods currently carried by the EA-18G.
According to Raytheon, the new NGJ pods will incorporate active electronically scanned array antennas based on next-generation gallium-nitride transmit/receive modules. "This will enable unsurpassed airborne electronic attack performance on the EA-18G, the only platform announced for NGJ at this time," Boeing says.
However, the relatively new low-band ALQ-99 jammer pods will remain in service for the foreseeable future. Nor does the US Navy have immediate plans to develop a new high-band jammer pod for the EA-18G.