The U.S. Navy’s first AN/ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) production representative pods arrived at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Patuxent River, Maryland, July 7. The two fleet representative test articles, which make up an NGJ-MB shipset, were delivered to the Airborne Electronic Attack Systems Program Office (PMA-234) pod shop where they will be used to complete the developmental test (DT) program and commence operational test (OT) that requires the use of operationally representative hardware and software. NGJ-MB is part of a larger system that will augment and ultimately replace the legacy ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System currently used on the EA-18G Growler.
“It is imperative we deliver this game-changing electronic warfare capability to the warfighter as quickly as possible. Receiving the production representative pods allows us to finish the flight test program and ensure we have a reliable product for the U.S. Navy and our Royal Australian Air Force cooperative partners,” said Capt. Dave Rueter, PMA-234 program manager.
“We will test the pods for everything we expect to encounter in the fleet. For example, the power they generate, the frequency range they operate in, and the effects we can achieve against expected targets across the spectrum. I have flown the Growler in the fleet and will eventually be going back,” said Lt. Alexander Belbin, AEA project officer with NAWCAD’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23.
The remainder of DT will be conducted by VX-23 and VX-31, located at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, California, and OT will be conducted by VX-9 at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. To date, NGJ-MB has successfully completed more than 300 hours of developmental flight testing and has more than 5,000 hours of chamber and lab testing using the Engineering Development Models that were designed specifically for DT. NGJ-MB’s increased power and capacity to target multiple systems will be significant enhancements over the ALQ-99. The U.S. Navy will receive six shipsets from Raytheon Intelligence & Space, the original equipment manufacturer. Once the flight test program is complete, the pods will be sent to the fleet in conjunction with the first Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) shipsets for Initial Operational Capability (IOC), which is scheduled for fall 2023.
Raytheon Intelligence & Space’s Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band is an advanced electronic attack system that denies, disrupts and degrades enemy technology, including communication tools and air-defense systems. Built with a combination of agile, active electronically scanned arrays and an all-digital back end, it gives E/A-18 GROWLER pilots an edge in the hotly contested electromagnetic spectrum. To date, NGJ-MB has 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. NGJ-MB is the Navy’s advanced electronic attack system that offensively denies, disrupts and degrades enemy technology, including air-defense systems and communications.