With Raytheon’s lock on the first increment of the US Navy’s Next Generation Jammer, a mid-band frequency jammer, Northrop Grumman is seeking the low- and high-band jamming pod awards.
In June, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) released a notice asking industry how existing technologies meet requirements for a new low-band transmitter, which are generally used to jam early warning radars and voice communication frequencies. Increment 3 will address high-band jamming, as part of a comprehensive plan to replace the ALQ-99 pods on the US Navy and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)’s Boeing E/A-18G Growlers and give the fighters a full spectrum jamming capability.
Today, the ALQ-99 is able to jam “from the basement to the attic,” says John Thompson, Northrop’s Mission Systems naval aviation campaign director.
But the digital transformation that will come with Northrop’s Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) will allow the pod to jammer more accurately and quickly, he adds.
“[The navy] is very interested in low band because so are our adversaries,” Thompson says. “They’re using this to look for airframes at very long distances, and we’re talking very specialized airframes that they’re looking for, that’s the race that we’re in.”
Last month, the government released a broad area announcement for industry to demonstrate existing low-band jamming technologies, Thompson says. The navy will decide this summer which companies will participate in the demonstration.