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US Navy funds tech demo phase of Next Generation Jammer Low Band competition

The US Navy awarded two $36 million technology demonstration contracts to L3 Technologies and Northrop Grumman for its Next Generation Jammer Low Band (NGJ-LB) competition.

The companies were awarded contracts to demonstrate existing technologies, the USN said on 25 October. The award comes after a protest from Raytheon, which also bid in the competition, was denied by the Government Accountability Office on 22 October.

NGJ-LB is an external radar and communications jamming pod that is carried underneath an aircraft and is part of a larger series of weapon systems contracts that are planned to ultimately replace the aging ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System currently used on Boeing EA-18G Growlers. The NGJ programme aims to jam three radar and communications frequency ranges used by adversaries by developing three jammers: NGJ Mid Band, NGJ Low Band and, eventually, NGJ High Band.

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ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System currently in use on the Boeing EA-18G Growlers

US Navy

“NGJ-LB is a critical piece of the overall NGJ system in that it focuses on the denial, degradation, deception and disruption of our adversaries’ abilities to gain an advantage in that portion of the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Capt Michael Orr, programme manager of PMA-234, the USN office that houses the airborne electronic attack systems and EA-6B programmes. “It delivers to the warfighter significant improvements in power, advanced jamming techniques and jamming effectiveness over the legacy ALQ-99 system.”

Each low-band demonstration contract has a 20-month period of performance, during which time the USN will assess the technologies’ maturity to help guide future development and acquisition strategy, the service says.

The low-band competition is the second chapter of the USN’s larger Next Generation Jammer competition, which awarded a separate contract to Raytheon in 2014 to develop a mid-band jammer.

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