AN/ALQ-249(V)1 Next Generation Jammer-Mid Band (NGJ-MB)
Raytheon’s AN/ALQ-249(V)1 Next Generation Jammer-Mid Band (NGJ-MB), which covers a 2GHz to 6GHz waveband, is considered a sea-change in capability by employing an active electronically scanned array (AESA) and a software defined architecture making the system more reliable and capable than its predecessor. Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business (NYSE: RTX), has completed Milestone C for the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band, or NGJ-MB.
“We’re well into development testing. It’s time to move towards production,” Annabel Flores, vice president of Electronic Warfare Systems at Raytheon Intelligence & Space said June 29, 2021. “We’re ready to give the Navy and our Australian partners a leap forward towards the electromagnetic spectrum superiority they need.”
The recommendation from the Milestone Decision Authority is based on the program’s achievements to date and an assessment of readiness to enter Low Rate Initial Production, or LRIP. “The Milestone C decision drives home the stability and maturity of NGJ-MB,” said Flores. “The system is ready for validation and LRIP, and we’re gearing up for the delivery of this critical capability to the fleet.”
To date, NGJ-MB haf successfully completed over 145 hours of developmental flight testing using Mission Systems and Aeromechanical pods. NGJ-MB has also completed over 3,100 hours of anechoic chamber and lab testing at Naval Air Stations Patuxent River, Maryland, and Point Mugu, California. Chamber tests evaluated the system’s performance both on and off the EA-18G Growler aircraft, in addition to jamming techniques and reliability testing.
NGJ-MB is the Navy’s advanced electronic attack system that offensively denies, disrupts and degrades enemy technology, including air-defense systems and communications. NGJ-MB uses the latest digital, software-based and Active Electronically Scanned Array technologies. This allows operators to non-kinetically attack significantly more targets and at greater distances.
The United States' adversaries are making progress in electronic warfare. According to the 2018 report from the National Defense Strategy Commission, Russia and China’s focus on “acquiring capabilities to overcome America’s technological edge and operational reach” has eroded the U.S.' military advantage in a number of areas, including electronic warfare.
The Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band, or NGJ-MB, from Raytheon Technologies will be used on the EA-18G Growler beginning in 2022. The new jammer is one way the U.S. Navy will address those new threats. “The pod [is being put] through the ringer,” said Ernest Winston, a senior manager at Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business. “Our technical knowledge and build strategy – which at its core was based on risk reduction – has been essential as we work through the development phase.”
With the pod onboard, Growler pilots can rapidly identify and defeat hostile actors in highly contested electromagnetic spectrum environments. Its linchpin is its active electronically scanned arrays, or AESAs, which radiate high power-jamming energy to turn out the enemy's lights. “(NGJ Mid-Band) is a powerhouse,” said Dan Theisen, a director at Raytheon Intelligence & Space, adding that the NGJ Mid-Band jamming system has increased capacity and power over the current system. NGJ-MB uses agile AESA antenna technology and an all-digital back end. It also has digital and software-based tech embedded in the design, which increases the ability to jam and allows for rapid beam steering and advanced jammer modulation.
As for the future, NGJ-MB's open systems architecture allows the system’s hardware and software to be upgraded quickly. A flexible design is crucial to match and defeat evolving sensing and jamming technologies in the electromagnetic spectrum. It can also house other offensive and defensive technologies to keep pilots safe. Additionally, field modification kits can enable a variety of missions for the jammer, including communications and information operations. It could also be used on other tactical and wide-body platforms.
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