Australia has increased its investment in the AN/ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) system by signing an extension to its cooperative development agreement with the US Navy.
Designed to replace the AN/ALQ-99 jammer system on the Boeing EA-18G Growler, the NGJ is being developed in three versions: the ALQ-249(V)1 NGJ Mid Band (NGJ-MB), (V)2 Low Band, and (V)3 High Band systems.
The RAAF committed to a cooperative development investment for the (V)1 NGJ-MB in 2017, and has now extended this to the follow-on (V)2 NGJ-LB system currently in development.
The NGJ-MB system is being developed by Raytheon, while Northrop Grumman and L3Harris are currently participating in a technology demonstration of their systems for the NGJ-LB material solutions analysis phase, after which a development contract is expected to be awarded in the 4th quarter of 2020.
“Our processes are further enhanced by international partnerships like this one,” Program Executive Officer for the US Navy’s Tactical Aircraft Programs, Rear Adm Shane Gahagan said in a release. “I commend everyone involved in making this happen for their great work so that together we can reduce costs and increase capabilities for our partners and our Navy.”
The first NGJ-MD pod was delivered to the US Navy in 2019 and completed Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3) testing in March 2020. Flight testing of the NGJ-MB aboard an EA-18G commenced in July 2020.
Australia’s commitment to the NGJ-LB follows a memorandum of agreement signed by the RAAF and the US Navy in May to commit to the production, sustainment and follow-on development of the NGJ-MB system.
“This expanded partnership with Australia to develop the newest Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) jamming capability shows the level of commitment of both countries to ensure continued superiority of the electromagnetic spectrum,” US Navy AEA Systems program manager (PMA-234), Capt Michael Orr said. “The NGJ-LB PA allows for joint sharing of the best technologies in the world, furthering the AEA capabilities of both the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).”
Being procured under the ADF’s Project AIR 5349 Phase 6, the NGJ-MB is planned to enter service with the US Navy and RAAF in 2024, with the subsequent systems due to follow at approximately two-year intervals.