The U.S. Navy is developing a next-generation airborne jammer designed to enable aircraft to operate in increasingly complex and contested electromagnetic or “jamming” environments, according to officials.
“The NGJ program is being designed to deny, degrade or deceive the enemy’s use of the electromagnetic spectrum. It will deliver significantly improved jamming capabilities such as higher radiated power and improved jamming modulations,” the Navy said in a statement. “Its design will reduce ‘friendly jamming fratricide’ by operating at a more precise frequency setting with reduced unintentional harmonics.”
The technology could allow future aircraft to overcome what the Pentagon refers to as Anti-Access/Area-Denial threats, or A2/AD. This refers to circumstances wherein the U.S. military’s ability to operate is challenged by potential adversaries’ technologies, according to defensetech.org.
The Next-Generation Jammer, to be flown initially on the EA-18G Growler aircraft, is the replacement for the aging ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System, or TJS, Navy officials were quoted as saying.
“ALQ-99 is the only airborne TJS in the DoD inventory. ALQ-99 is facing obsolescence and thus cannot counter all current, much less future threats. The NGJ will address evolving threats and fill capability gaps that the aging ALQ-99 TJS cannot,” the officials added.
The Navy plans to reach Initial Operational Capability with the NGJ system by the fourth quarter of 2020.
The NGJ will also include antenna arrays able to radiate high power jamming energy, high power amplifiers comprised of transmit-only or transmit-receive modules, and power generation capability, the service officials said.
The NGJ system is intended to replace and improve the current airborne electronic attack capability with a new system that can address the many diverse and rapidly changing threats expected on the electronic battlefield, officials said.
NGJ, is slated to enter a Technology Development phase by the third quarter of fiscal year 2013, according to officials. A range of vendors are competing for contracts to enter the TD phase, including BAE Systems, ITT, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.