U.S. Navy’s Next-Gen Jammer Mid-Band Pod Completes Developmental Testing

The U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) developmental pod recently completed a portion of developmental testing in the Air Combat Environmental Test and Evaluation Facility anechoic chamber at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

The NGJ-MB Engineering Development Model (EDM) pods, developed by the Raytheon Company in El Segundo, California, completed more than 400 hours of basic functionality, Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) data collection and performance testing over a period of three months.

“This chamber test period was instrumental to the NGJ-MB Developmental Test program, and its success was the direct result of outstanding teamwork among the Program Office, Integrated Test Team, and Raytheon stakeholders,” said Capt. Michael Orr, Airborne Electronic Attack Systems (PMA-234) program manager. “Data captured during this period not only supports our initial flight clearance, but also provided lessons learned that will benefit the entire NGJ-MB test program moving forward.”

Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) Testing
Two Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) pods, attached to an EA-18G Growler, undergo testing in the Air Combat Environmental Test and Evaluation Facility anechoic chamber at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. (U.S. Navy photo)

Raytheon’s Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band solution was selected by the U.S. Navy in 2013 to replace the legacy ALQ-99 systems used on the EA-18G airborne electronic attack aircraft. The system is designated AN/ALQ-249.

The NGJ-MB system consists of two pods, referred to as a shipset, which will be loaded onto the EA-18G Growler aircraft. The system will provide significantly improved Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) capabilities against advanced threats in the mid-band frequency range through enhanced agility and precision within jamming assignments, increased interoperability and expanded broadband capacity for greater threat coverage against a wide variety of radio frequency emitters.

Built with a combination of agile, active electronically scanned arrays and an all-digital back end, the system will give E/A-18 pilots an edge in the hotly contested electromagnetic spectrum. It denies, disrupts and degrades enemy technology, including communication tools and air-defense systems.

Unlike most capabilities that instantly replace its predecessor, the NGJ-MB systems will initially augment the legacy ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System until the low- and high-band components are ready to deploy.

In 2016, the U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon a $1 billion NGJ-MB Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract. Raytheon delivered the first NGJ-MB pod EMD model to the U.S. Navy for testing in July of 2019. The NGJ-MB EMD system was fit checked on an EA-18G Growler aircraft at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 in September 2019.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Raytheon was awarded a $403 million System Demonstration Test Articles (SDTA) contract with the U.S. Navy for the NGJ-MB system.

NGJ-MB will enter flight testing at the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 this spring. The program’s Milestone C (initiates production and deployment) is projected for the end of this fiscal year.

In addition to the NGJ Mid-Band, the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) program is also comprised of two stand-alone programs: NGJ Low Band, and a future NGJ High Band. Each of the three programs covers a different frequency band and addresses a variety of adversary systems.

NGJ-MB pods under production at Raytheon's facility. Photo Credit: Raytheon.
NGJ-MB pods under production at Raytheon’s facility. Photo Credit: Raytheon.

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