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Australia plans to join US Navy's Next-Gen Jammer development program

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World Defense & Security News - Australia
 
 
Australia plans to join US Navy's Next-Gen Jammer development program
 
The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) intent to collaborate on the development of US Navy's AN/ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer Mid-band (Increment 1) (NGJ-MB) program is on track to become a reality with the assistance of the Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) Systems and EA-6B Program Office (PMA-234) and the Navy International Programs Office (Navy IPO).
     
Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) on EA-18G Growler EW aircraft
(Credit: Raytheon)
     
The allies joined mid-June for a Cooperative Partnership week, during which the RAAF had an opportunity to gain insight into the current status of the NGJ-MB program, in anticipation of formally entering a cooperative project later this year.

PMA-234 and Navy IPO representatives, in concert with the Australian Department of Defence, are negotiating an agreement that will solidify both governments’ intent to establish the joint program office and mature the electronic warfare capability together.

We are extremely excited about this international partnership,” said James Smith, PMA-234 principal deputy program manager. “NGJ-MB will allow more cooperation and interoperability throughout our joint peace-keeping missions as we protect our mutual interests from current threats and emerging adversaries.”

Once developed, these Next-Gen Jammer could beef up the EW capabilities of the RAAF current fleet of 12 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft.

     
Next Generation Jammer model showcased by Raytheon during Paris Air Show 2015
     
The EA-18G Growler is derived from the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet and is the United States’ newest and most advanced airborne electronic attack platform, providing electronic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data to other aircraft. The Growler has been deployed since 2010 supporting U.S. and allied forces.

Part of the Growler’s mission in combat is to deny, degrade or delay the enemies’ ability to acquire and engage friendly air forces and also give bombers or fighters access to those targeted areas.

Raytheon's Next Generation Jammer 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. In 2016, the U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon a $1B Next Generation Jammer Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract.

During the EMD phase the system will be further developed before being produced. The capability is expected to reach its system-level critical design review in early- to mid-2017. This will finalize the design and allow for the fabrication and assembly of test articles.

NGJ Inc 1, an external jamming pod, will replace the AN/ALQ-99 tactical jamming system currently integrated on the EA-18G Growler aircraft. It will address advanced and emerging threats alike, as well as the growing numbers of threats.

NGJ Inc 1 uses the latest digital, software-based and Active Electronically Scanned Array technologies and will provide enhanced airborne electronic attack capabilities to disrupt and degrade enemy air defense and ground communication systems.