Next Generation Jammer (NGJ)


Donald McKelvy
Senior Member
14 August 2009
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"The $10B Next Generation Jammer Is ‘On Track, On Schedule’"
By Colin Clark on July 14, 2014 at 1:29 AM


LONDON: Farnborough is an air show, but many of the briefings scheduled by American companies this year focus on electronic warfare and missiles — not airplanes. Raytheon, winner of the Next Generation Jammer competition, and the other four defense giants know that much of the money to be made in the next decade will come from upgrades and add-ons, not new platforms. And much of the new money is destined for just the sort of technology the NGJ is sure to bring: the area where cyber and classic electronic warfare now merge thanks to digital technologies such as the AESA radar (active electronically scanned array).

There is news on that front. Since Raytheon’s win over BAE Systems, ITT/Boeing and Northrop Grumman was reaffirmed earlier this year — in spite of BAE Systems’ successful protest — the program has made very little news.

But we can report that the head of the program at Raytheon, Rick Yuse, says the program’s System Readiness Review (intended to ensure the program can meet all its requirements) ”went extremely well” late last month.

“It’s a solid design,” he said, “well thought through.” He added that “program execution is near perfect.” Initial flight testing on the jammer’s components is now set for September. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) should happen in late 2020, he said.

Anyone who has followed high technology programs in the military knows that they often suffer much of their greatest angst in the first few years, as requirements get changed, unexpected technology problems arise, and funding wobbles.

Yuse attributed much of the program’s success so far to the fact that Raytheon “had a plan to do a lot of risk reduction very early in the contract.” He told me that virtually all of the technology sits at or above Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6, which is generally just below production-ready and appropriate for subsystem development. More specifically he said, the program’s four key technologies were at TRL six when they started.

Very little has been said publicly by Raytheon or the Navy about the NGJ, its technologies or its capabilities. Yuse continued that trend, very politely. He described the system as covering both offensive and defensive electronic warfare. It is “initially focused heavily on the air-to-ground mission for air defense.”

Perhaps the most intriguing tidbit from our conversation, which occurred July 2, was Yuse’s mention of “an AESA array that can do EW, coms, radar, SIGINT all at the same time.” Most observers know that AESA can handle EW and radar. But there’s been very little public discussion of AESA’s ability to perform Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) or its ability to serve as a communications array. Aviation Week‘s Amy Butler and I asked Lockheed’s head of the F-35 program on Thursday about whether AESA could serve as a communication’s device, and we got the “I’m not sure I can discuss that” answer.

AESA as a communications device makes sense given its digital nature. If you can turn voice into zeroes and ones, then you should be able to send and receive that information.

Initially, the jammer will be installed on the Navy’s dedicated electronic warfare platform, the EA-18 Growler. Yuse said the pods could also be installed on aircraft such as the Navy’s unmanned UCLASS with relatively few changes required: “It is a very flexible design that does not require a lot of aircraft modifications — we kind of refer to it as smart pod.”

The pod includes algorithms with a data library to read the existing threats or targets and to offer responses. Part of the reason few changes are required for new aircraft is that the pod contains virtually everything needed. “From an operational standpoint it’s pretty independent. It’s not very intrusive into the aircraft’s avionics.”
Next Generation Jammer: Essential Protection in the Digital Age
Next Generation Jammer completes EIRP testing
Janes International Defence Review 09/4/15

Raytheon and the US Navy (USN) announced on 1 September they had completed full-power, continuous-wave testing of the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) using prototype arrays and a radome.

"Test results demonstrated output effective isotropic radiated power [EIRP] across a wide frequency range and field of regard in compliance with specification requirements, as well as simultaneous operation of both arrays, beamsteering, and measurement of harmonic amplitudes and intermodulation distortion," Captain John Bailey, programme manager, Airborne Electronic Attack Systems & EA-6B programmes (PMA-234), told IHS Jane's on 3 September.
EIRP testing took place from 6 July to 12 August at the Benefield Anechoic Facility located at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
The prototype testing indicated the NGJ will fulfill the USN's stringent requirements for EIRP, Raytheon said in a statement.
"This prototyping and test activity provided for data to inform the system design process, as well as a methodical approach for risk reduction to, and hence increased confidence in, the engineering and manufacturing development phase and meeting of system key performance parameters and key system attributes, ultimately leading to the successful production and fielding of this critical capability," Capt Bailey said.
According to Raytheon: "The company and the USN developed a realistic testing programme designed to ensure that the NGJ electronic warfare system meets its 2021 initial operating capability commitment."
"Completion of EIRP testing, while an early milestone, confirms our progress to date and that the programme is successfully executing to both schedule and plan," Travis Slocumb, vice-president of electronic warfare systems at Raytheon, said in a statement.
"The NGJ is built on a combination of high-powered, agile, beam-jamming techniques and cutting-edge, solid-state electronics to achieve two goals: meeting the [USN's] electronic warfare mission requirements and providing a cost-effective, open-system architecture for future upgrades. It is scheduled to replace legacy ALQ-99 tactical jamming pods, delivering new capabilities for the navy's EA-18G Growler," Raytheon said in a statement.


n regard to EIRP, one of many challenging elements is that NGJ must generate very high power densities over a very wide bandwidth (greater than two octaves of frequency, four times more than a typical active electronically scanned array radar, with a duty cycle three times longer [always on]), which requires the use of a new class of semiconductor amplifiers, Capt Bailey said.
"The new class of semiconductor amplifiers uses gallium nitride [GaN] on silicon carbide [SiC]-based pseudomorphic high electron mobility transistors, with unprecedented efficiency to manage prime power generation and waste heat management constraints," he explained.
"As a result of a much higher charge density and breakdown voltage, in addition to excellent and thermal conductivity in support of high heat dissipation, GaN on SiC transistors provide for much higher amplifier output power across a wide frequency range, and in a smaller form factor, as compared with other semiconductor materials such as gallium arsenide or indium phosphide," he added.


Does anyone have any information of the RAT design that Raytheon is using for their NGJ pods?
Found this view


While not of the RAT, this is the only internal pic of the Raytheon NGJ I have found.

Thanks Spud.

Another informative article from last year -

Rapidly Evolving Threat Drives Pace Of EW Development - Aviation Week & Space Technology Feb 17, 2014

Electronic warfare is changing. The switch from chasing insurgents to facing down a superpower, and the threat of commercial electronics giving adversaries advanced capabilities, is bringing urgency and velocity to electronic-warfare (EW) development not seen since the height of the Cold War.

The era of intercepting and recording radar signals, developing and testing jamming algorithms in laboratories and fielding preprogrammed countermeasures is ending as the U.S. and allies confront the anti-access and aerial-denial challenges of the Pacific theater. Threats will no longer always be known. They will be agile and extend beyond radars to include communications, networks and other sensors.

What was once about defeating air-defense radars for aircraft self-protection is now about maneuvering across the electromagnetic spectrum, scanning a dense electronic environment, separating out signals of interest, understanding their intent and finding ways of disabling an adversary while enabling friendly forces to operate.

“The U.S. is used to having a decided military advantage. Now it is looking at the whole area of spectrum dominance,” says Pat Antkowiak, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems' advanced concepts and technologies division. “It's a complex environment, electronic and geographic, with fiscal reality on our side and commercial technology on the threat side.”

“For A2/AD, EW is a critical enabler, allowing us to regain freedom of action and sustain offensive operations,” says Rich Sorelle, president of Exelis Electronic Systems. “The shift to the Pacific has refocused government attention on the problems EW can solve,” adds Mitch Freidman, Exelis vice president of strategy and technology.

Adversaries have commercial access to technology building blocks that enable them to develop and field sophisticated EW systems faster than traditional military acquisition cycles can keep pace. With budgets under pressure, the growing demand is for rapid technology insertion to refresh existing platforms and introduce open architectures that will make upgrades easier, faster and cheaper.

“On the threat side of the equation, the barrier to entry has come down,” says Jeff Palombo, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman's land and self-protection systems division. “It was very expensive for the threat side to evolve. Now, based on commercial technology, it can happen extremely quickly and very formidable counter-countermeasures can be employed.”

Widespread availability of digital radio-frequency memory (DRFM), which can record, manipulate and return signals to deceive radars, is a key enabler. Wideband receivers, analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters and fast signal processors can be bought on the open market and integrated into a system. “You can create an EW system from 143 BlackBerrys,” says Palombo.

“We believe that to stay ahead in spectrum dominance you need a real-time capability, to get inside the threat loop of intent. Now we sample and react to the environment. In the future we will take machine learning and cognitive systems and go from a reactive environment to learning on the fly. We will become more anticipatory, and move the loop in favor of our platforms,” says Antkowiak.

In any discussion on future EW, the same terms emerge: cognitive systems, machine learning, ultra-wideband, multi-function, open architectures. They describe systems that can sense and adapt to the electronic environment; scan and jam from high-frequency radio to millimeter-wave radar; collect intelligence, protect the platform and disrupt the adversary; and be modular, scalable, upgradable—and affordable.

“Our analysis gives us a list of long-term game changers to focus on,” says Sorelle. These include cognitive capability—“the ability for the system to understand the EW spectrum and RF ecosystem with its systems of interest and separate out their signals,” he says. Networked and distributed sensing and jamming is another, as is real-time adaptive capability—“the threat is ground-to-air and air-to-air, phased-array and multi-function, with a high degree of agility.”

“The speed with which adversaries can use commercial technology drives the speed at which we shift from a priori knowledge of the threat,” says Freidman. “We will never be that up-to-date on them, because they will be changing and updating. So it will be about cognitive systems, about sensing the environment and coming up with jamming techniques” in real time.

Cognitive is a term usually applied to software-defined radios to describe systems able to scan a band of frequencies and determine which are free of interference and available for use. A cognitive EW system will scan its environment to detect signals, their waveforms and locations, and determine who is transmitting them and with what intent. Machine-learning algorithms will then decide where and how to apply jamming to achieve effects while minimizing collateral damage to friendly forces.

With software-defined radios, commercial communication has changed from a cartel dividing up spectrum to a spot market, with users looking for where is nothing so they can use it, says Freidman. “Now flip those algorithms and look for where it is empty, where the jammers go, and how to detect behavior in those changes,” he says. “EW has become about how to manage spectrum . . . . It's about detecting behaviors versus signatures in the signals.”

“Cognitive is about precisely mapping and understanding the environment. It enables us to be proactive and preemptive, to develop predictive and anticipatory electronic-attack algorithms,” says Sorelle. “We are looking from 0-300 Ghz, at X-band radar, Ku-band satcom, Ka-band short-range surveillance, MMW imaging—nothing precludes an adversary from using any part of the spectrum, so we need to understand how to precisely map the spectrum and define what the signals of interest are,” he says.

“Machine learning is an active area of research. It will allow us to rapidly sort through a trade space of alternatives to work out the next moves,” says Antkowiak. “It is analogous to what is happening in the cloud and big data, to IBM's investment in Watson. It is not necessary for us to lead, but to grab hold of what is happening in machine learning and cognitive systems that drive that into an advantage.”

Within electronic warfare, the disciplines of electronic attack (EA), electronic protection and electronic support (ES) are merging into multi-function systems. “The EW mission is evolving rapidly. Its legacy is self-protection in the air domain, but in the last few years innovative use of commercial electronics in improvised explosive devices has shaped EW beyond tactical aviation. Electronic attack has evolved in the wars to more of a communications focus,” says Travis Slocumb, vice president EW systems with Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems.

“The next environment is the pivot to the Pacific, where we see a very complex signal environment and a relatively dense and challenging air defense system. We will see more tactical communications and signals intelligence gathering, and multi-ship operations for sensing, geolocation and effects,” he says.

“We are seeing demand for a higher degree of synergy between EW and radar, for high-gain EA off the front of the radar, ES through the radar and geolocation tipping and cuing to the radar from intelligence collection,” Slocumb says. “The next 10 years will be analogous to the tactical radar business, where active, electronically scanned arrays [AESA] are bringing multi-function capabilities.”

Raytheon's Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) pod for the U.S. Navy's Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic-attack aircraft will use high-power AESAs for jamming. They will use gallium-nitride (GaN) transmitter modules. “We have made a tremendous investment in GaN technology, and its power efficiency is key to NGJ, to getting high power into a pod,” Slocumb says.

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are emerging as potential players on the electronic battlefield. “SWaP [size, weight and power] is the first determinant of what goes on a UAS,” says Palombo. “We have done demos with the Marine Corps and General Atomics on a Reaper. With a small multi-spectral payload on a UAS you can get closer to the threat. The standoff requirement is less, so lower power is needed.”

The SWaP constraint is fundamental, says Antkowiak. “In highly constrained environments like UAS, persistence is key. The more power you need for the payload, the less time you have on the battlefield,” he says. “The mission can be done on anything if you start with small building blocks. We have done it on UAS as small as the Bat,” Northrop's medium-altitude tactical unmanned aircraft, Palombo says.

“As experience with UAS grows, the mission will morph and networks will become much more important. Then UAS can swarm and defeat anything,” says Freidman, adding they will not always be small. The Navy's planned Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (Uclass) system will explore how EW interfaces with an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform to provide a broader view of the battlespace, he says.

Networking is becoming important to EW, for distributed sensing and effects. “You can take platforms with old and new radar-warning receivers, take information from the better equipment, transmit and translate that to another aircraft and give it situational awareness as if it had the newer system,” says Freidman. “The next step is to coordinate jammers and enable different techniques.”

Integrating radio frequency (RF) and electro-optical/infrared (IR) sensing and jamming is another step. “We are starting to see multi-spectral threats,” says Palombo. “In the past it was just RF. Now it is RF plus IR plus laser designation off one threat. So we have to be multi-spectral in how we counter the threat. We have to fuse the data and verify it is just one threat system and not five. We are seeing requirements from some parts on the government for multi-spectral RF and IR detection and jamming.”

With a dearth of new programs, advanced capabilities will have to find their way on to existing platforms. “The pivot to the Pacific, the shift from ground-centric operations to the air-sea battle, and the backdrop of budget constraints, means more upgrades versus new systems, more multi-function layered, integrated solutions,” says Freidman.

“The cycle of EW was 10-15 years; now it is evolving very quickly. The unintended capability of commercial technology has really permitted the threat to evolve,” says Antkowiak. “The proliferation of DRFM technology, its impact on counter- and counter-countermeasures, is driving attitude changes. We have got to figure out how to be truly modular in software and hardware, truly open in architecture. We have to have interfaces that take advantage of third parties with innovative ideas.” he says.

“The pace of improvement in commercial solid-state technologies allows us to create systems that span octaves, if not decades, of spectrum,” says Antkowiak. “Couple that with improvements in digital memory, waveform generators and signal processors and we can build wideband RF systems where we virtualize the functions so they are very flexible and can be missionized. Tie that back to machine learning and cognitive systems and we can learn from the environment and rapidly adapt functionality to create adaptability in the EW domain.”
U.S. Navy Naval Air Warfare Center puts the ‘next generation’ in Next Generation Jammer

Big things are happening in the world of electronic warfare at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) Point Mugu. NAWCWD is bulking up its electronic warfare capabilities to make Raytheon’s Next Generation Jammer the most effective device in the Navy’s electronic warfare arsenal, relayed Jeff Anderson, technical lead for Jammer Technique Optimization (JATO), late August aboard Naval Base Ventura County, California.

“The Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) is exactly the tool that we need to continue supporting the warfighter on the next level,” Anderson said. “This new system is essentially software loaded, which means that our aircrews can more readily use the wide spectrum of electronic countermeasures developed here at Point Mugu.”

According to Anderson, the NGJ gives operators the ability to load a broader variety and higher capacity of electronic attacks with ease and flexibility.

“It used to take up to 90 days for a contractor to manufacture the design of one of these application specific integrated circuits (ASIC) chips,” Anderson said. “Now we can program our jammer to go against it within hours.”

Around the 1990s, jamming technique types were burned into unmodifiable ASICs. Previous mission preparation required operators to load a limited number of parameters for a fixed set of jamming waveform types into the aircraft’s ALQ-99 jamming pod - based on inferences made by analysts studying an adversary’s capabilities.

“Radar technologies are quickly advancing,” Anderson said. “They’re faster and smarter, sensing interference on other frequencies and automatically switching to frequencies and waveforms with less interference.”

Keeping up with those improvements can be challenging, but the JATO group at Point Mugu, in conjunction with JATO personnel at the Naval Research Lab and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, specializes in jamming technology and other electronic warfare methods.

Raytheon reports active testing for NGJ at China Lake, California, and Weapons Division authorities say there are joint plans to integrate the new design into the EA-18G Growler, a variant of the F/A-18F Super Hornet.


So the jammer's antenna array will just like radar. hmm no more dielectric lenses it seems.
From last year, but one of the more informative articles on the program.

GaN-Based AESAs Enable U.S. Navy’s Next-Generation Jammer
USN has a busy few years of testing planned for its Next Generation Jammer

The US Navy (USN) and Raytheon anticipate entering critical design review (CDR) for the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) in 2017, following completion of the technology maturation and risk reduction (TMRR) phase and awarding of the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract.

Raytheon was awarded a USD1 billion contract for the EMD phase, which the company formally entered on 10 March. EMD will continue through December 2020, the company announced in mid-April.

"Risk reduction is a core mindset on this programme. We did everything we could during the TMRR phase to address higher technology risks on the programme and mitigate [and reduce] those risks going into the EMD phase," Captain John Bailey, programme manager for Airborne Electronic Attack Systems and EA-6B programmes (PMA-234), told IHS Jane's on 25 April.

During TMRR, the navy and Raytheon prototyped the power generation system for the pod, integrating a ram air turbine generator inside the jammer pod, he said.

"We have not done it before. The ALQ-99 has an external prop that drives the ram air turbine," Capt Bailey said.

The pod then underwent wind tunnel testing at Arnold Engineering Development Complex at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee, where the navy was able to demonstrate that the RAM air turbine generator could generate the appropriate amount of prime power to drive the array subsystem.

The TMRR phase culminated in combined array testing with a radome to demonstrate full continuous wave power. That test took place at the Benefield Anechoic Facility's anechoic chamber at Edwards AFB, California.

"We demonstrated in that prototype testing that we could generate the appropriate amount of effective isotropic radiated power as required based on the threat," Capt Bailey said.

Additional wind tunnel tests, using scale models were conducted to show drag on the aircraft as well as how the aircraft would perform if it had to jettison a pod.

"The results of all this prototype testing informed the preliminary design and that is where that risk reduction comes from going into EMD," Capt Bailey noted.

Now with the EMD phase getting under way, Capt Bailey said the navy and Raytheon will initially undertake air mechanical testing, after which Raytheon will build and deliver air mechanical test pods that will be installed on the EA-18G test aircraft.

"We will start a lot of that air mechanical testing in about the second quarter [fiscal year 2018] FY 2018. That will support getting a flight clearance for mission systems [testing]," he said. "As we progress forward we will start delivering our EDM model pods. Those are your mission system test assets. Those are the ones that will have fully populated arrays ready to go, ready to radiate."

When those pods deliver they will be installed on a test aircraft and taken to the anechoic chamber at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, for electromagnetic environment effects (E3) testing.

"That will support getting an initial flight clearance so we can load these onto the jets and fly them and radiate," Capt Bailey added. "Once that is done and we get initial flight clearance, we will [do] mission system testing here with radiating pods and then progress into flight test with pods radiating."

NGJ will provide the USN with more power and capacity than the ALQ-99 as well as advanced modulation, Capt Bailey said.

"The threat has pushed us out in terms of range, which then requires us to put out additional power to maintain a certain standoff. As the threats become more prolific, the threat density has increased, so therefore our need to handle more simultaneous assignments is required and that is what we do with the NGJ, as opposed to the ALQ-99," he added. The threat has advanced in terms of waveform diversity and our ability to counter that. So you counter that with the waveform diversity jammer and that is what NGJ is."

NGJ will replace the ALQ-99 tactical jamming pod on the navy's EA-18G Growler aircraft. The current programme of record, which does not include EMD assets, is for 270 pods (135 ship sets with two pods per ship set). The first low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 1 contract is expected to be awarded in late FY 2019.

Capt Bailey noted he is tied into the naval science and technology activities occurring at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency where new and emerging electronic warfare capabilities are being developed that potentially could be integrated into NGJ. In fact the captain built a roadmap for the programme looking at incremental updates on incorporating different capabilities into NGJ after its initial operational capability (IOC).

There are a couple of projects under way at ONR that are on that roadmap. Those efforts could begin testing prior to IOC, but would not be fielded until later in the programme, Capt Bailey said.

For now the navy is focused on getting NGJ built, tested, and ready for IOC in the fourth quarter FY 2021 and then the first full-rate production Lot 1 contract award in second quarter FY 2022.

U.S. Navy To Seek Info On Next-Gen Jammer Increment 2

FORT WASHINGTON, Maryland – The U.S. Navy plans to send out requests for information (RFIs) in the coming weeks for the second increment of its Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) program, says Capt. John Bailey, program manager for the service’s Airborne Electronic Attack Systems.
The Navy still has no approved program for the second increment yet, which may or may not involve a new industry competition, he says. The increment will focus on low-frequency radars.

Raytheon won the original Next Jen Jammer competition in July 2013. For the first increment of what is now the Defense Department’s “only Tacair (Tactical Air) jammer,” the Navy will soon be starting a complete subsystem critical design review that will continue for about a year, Bailey said May 16 during a briefing at the Navy League’s annual Sea Air Space exposition here.

The program is set for a critical design review in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, he notes.

Having completed its Milestone B phase in March, the program is on track to reach its Milestone C in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, he says.

Scale models of the system have already completed wind tunnel tests, he says. There is nothing so far to indicate the jammer will not be able to operate at the greater power levels the Navy has been touting, he says. This will make it possible for the EA-18G Growler aircraft to operate at greater standoff ranges.

Navy fliers have already praised the Growler’s ability to electronically attack threats and conduct other electronic warfare missions. The improved jammer, Bailey says, will not only provide more power, but also make it possible for the aircraft to perform “quadruple the number of assignments.”

Analysts agree the jammer will be a valuable electronic warfare tool. “Equipped with the Next Generation Jammer, EA-18G will be capable of providing coherent jamming at increased power, interrupting enemy effects chains,” the Hudson Institute says in a recent report. “This capability assists the penetration of not only F/A-18E/F aircraft or other Joint Force aircraft, but also F-35Cs.The proliferation of L-band radars and other lower-frequency fire control radars counters the X-band optimization of the F-35C. The ability of E1A-18G to jam these other radars allows carrier strike and air warfare packages the ability to counter enemy sensors and provides jamming coverage for weapons, significantly increasing weapon probability of arrival.”
This may well be related:
Airborne Electronic Attack Systems Jammer team receives NAVAIR Commander’s Award

Navy still focusing on the Next Gen Jammer

The Navy is continuing to move toward replacing its primary aerial jamming pod, the ALQ-99, with the Next Generation Jammer, which will provide significantly greater capabilities in the electromagnetic spectrum against growing threats.

“Threats have grown both in number and capability, to put it simply,” Capt. John Bailey, program manager of Airborne Electronic Attack Systems, said at the 2016 Sea Air Space seminar May 16. In terms of isotropic radiated power, the Next Gen Jammer is “about 10 times the power of what we typically put out in the ALQ-99,” he said. As for capacity, “ballpark, quadruple the number of assignments it can handle” as well as the ability to rapidly beam-switch from “target to target to target” nearly instantaneously.

The ALQ-99, which dates back nearly 50 years, has reached its limit of what it can do, especially against a modern threat, in terms of effective isotropic radiated power, advanced modulation and capacity. “The reason we are purchasing the next-generation jammer, [whose] first increment will reach initial operational capability around 2021, is that the threat is getting more and more advanced. And that threat is in the electromagnetic spectrum. The next war is going to be fought in the electromagnetic spectrum,” Rear Adm. Michael Manazir, the Navy’s director of Air Warfare, told members of Congress in April, while providing an update on the status of the Next Gen Jammer.

Development of the Next Gen Jammer, which is being made by Raytheon, has been slowed by budget constraints, but has reportedly performed well in tests.

As for as additional drivers forcing the need for an upgraded capability, Bailey’s presentation listed longer standoff range, longer missile range, increased density, digital-based radar processing, coherent low probability of intercept radars, irregular warfare electromagnetic fratricide and rapid technological advances, among other factors. The Next Gen Jammer will respond to these factors with higher equivalent isotropically radiated power, increased number of assignments, digital-based waveform modulations, coherent countermeasures, wideband spectrum, clear spectral output and open architecture, among others.

Regarding specific threats behind these drivers, Bailey declined to offer any greater specificity other than the threats are coming from “everybody—it’s not just Russia,” he told Defense Systems following his address. While Russia has proven significantly adept in electromagnetic operations, especially in the land domain, China has begun to place greater importance on electronic warfare. China “identifies electronic warfare (EW) as a way to reduce or eliminate U.S. technological advantages, and considers it an integral component of warfare,” according to the recently released Defense Department Annual Report to Congress on China. “The [People’s Liberation Army’s] EW doctrine emphasizes using electromagnetic spectrum weapons to suppress or to deceive enemy electronic equipment. The PLA’s strategy focuses on radio, radar, optical, infrared, and microwave frequencies, in addition to adversarial computer and information systems.”

The report also notes that China views EW as a comparable domain of warfare just like ground, sea and air. China’s EW weapons include jamming equipment against multiple communication and radar systems and GPS satellite systems, the report said. The United States has been engaged in heated exchanges over China’s land reclamation and militarization of man-made islands in the South China Sea, stemming from Navy surveillance aircraft flights and freedom of navigation operations.

While so-called “cognitive EW” programs, which aim to use artificial intelligence to rapidly learn incoming frequencies, are talked about in conjunction with the Defense Department’s Third Offset strategy, Bailey said such concepts are not a current program of record. “[It’s] something we’re looking at for the future though, future upgrades, I wouldn’t call it an increment but a future upgrade, yes. We’re looking into that but there’s no funded program of record for it at this time,” he told Defense Systems, adding he couldn’t say how far off the possibility of dedicated funding is.

“Today, when [aircraft] go out, though, they find that they’re getting pinged by radar signals that we’ve never encountered before and it’s just one reflection of how rapidly technology is changing in the world. When that happens today, it can be weeks to months to literally years before they’re able to get the kind of protection they need against that new radio signal,” DARPA director Arati Prabhakar, said at the Atlantic Council in May, regarding cognitive EW. “With this advance in machine learning, with these systems onboard, what we’ll have for these aircraft is the ability to scan the radio spectrum in real time to determine what the adversary’s radar is doing and then right there on the spot create a jamming profile that will protect those aircraft in real time, in the battlespace even when the world around them is changing.”
NAVAIR Request for Information (RFI) on the Next Generation Jammer Increment-2


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bring_it_on said:
NAVAIR Request for Information (RFI) on the Next Generation Jammer Increment-2

Too bad they won't begin work on the F-35 implementation. The growler capability would be great for ARG's.

Is it possible for something like NGJ to work with Tern?
NeilChapman said:
bring_it_on said:
NAVAIR Request for Information (RFI) on the Next Generation Jammer Increment-2

Too bad they won't begin work on the F-35 implementation. The growler capability would be great for ARG's.

Is it possible for something like NGJ to work with Tern?

FWIW, DOT&E is implying that NGJ in its current podded form is coming in heavier and draggier than expected.
Might want to wait until post LRIP weight reduction of the internals before committing to F-35 pod integration.
marauder2048 said:
NeilChapman said:
bring_it_on said:
NAVAIR Request for Information (RFI) on the Next Generation Jammer Increment-2

Too bad they won't begin work on the F-35 implementation. The growler capability would be great for ARG's.

Is it possible for something like NGJ to work with Tern?

FWIW, DOT&E is implying that NGJ in its current podded form is coming in heavier and draggier than expected.
Might want to wait until post LRIP weight reduction of the internals before committing to F-35 pod integration.

Thanks M

NGJ IoC is early 2020's. Will this capability likely make it to B-21?
Navy calls for industry participation in Next Gen Jammer technology demo

February 28, 2017 | Lee Hudson|

The Navy is planning for the second increment of the multibillion-dollar Next Generation Jammer program to enter the acquisition process at the engineering and manufacturing development phase and is asking industry to participate in an upcoming technology demonstration.

The Transmitter Group Technology Demonstration is meant to prove a mature solution exists so the effort can enter the acquisition system at milestone B, according to a Feb. 17 special notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

"The data collected will support the maturity assessment and provide the evidence to be presented to the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) in order to receive authorization to release the [request for proposals] for the Inc 2 Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract," the notice reads. "The data to be presented to the MDA will be the cumulative data set from contractor [independent research and development] funded programs, government witnessed testing and government conducted testing."

Naval Air Systems Command plans to release a request for proposals for the technology demonstration in late fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017 or early first quarter of FY-18. The service will award a contract to up to three vendors with a period of performance spanning 18 to 20 months, according to the notice.

The scope areas for the demo include frequency coverage, effective isotropic radiated power, spatial coverage and spectral purity, the notice says.

Inside the Navy reported in July that the service released a request for information and hosted an industry day for the NGJ.

NGJ is an evolutionary acquisition program providing the service capability in three increments: Increment 1 is mid-band; Increment 2 is low-band; and Increment 3 is high-band. The Navy is set to spend about $3.5 billion on the first increment and about $1.6 billion on the second increment, according to FY-17 Navy budget documents.

"Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) Increment [2] will deliver significantly improved radar and communications jamming capabilities with Open Systems Architecture that supports software and hardware updates to rapidly counter improving threats," according to Navy budget documents. "Additionally, NGJ Inc 2 will continue across the spectrum of mission defined in the Defense Strategic Guidance to include strike warfare, projecting power despite anti-access/area denial challenges, and counterinsurgency/irregular warfare."
First Flight of a High Power Software Defined
Electronic Warfare System ;Thomas F Brukiewa
SAS, Systems Development Center, Electronic Warfare Systems Department

The pod is an aluminum structure with a wideband radome in the front and rear of the pod. Both radomes are identical. The equipment internal to the pod includes the AESA (located in the forward radome), the array power supply (APS, located just behind the AESA), a submerged Ram Air Turban-Generator (RAT-G), a liquid cooling system (LCS), and an instrumentation system. The AESA meets all of the requirements mentioned above for EW missions. This array is uniquely capable of operating full power continuous wave (CW) (100% duty cycle) for transmit. It is also capable of pulsed operation, switching very rapidly between transmit and receive at any duty cycle.

The AESA is very wide band with active transmit-receive (T/R) modules in tile configuration that contain efficient high-power GaN amplifiers in the transmit path, and low-noise amplifiers in the receive path. Both paths contain phase shifters and gain control elements. The wideband array enables the spectrum agility and access needed for Spectrum Maneuver Warfare. The array is mounted on the front of the pod. The dual-polarized aperture elements enable the system polarization to be selectable. The array contains a digital controller that communicates with the MFIRES software defined receiver/exciter unit (SDREU) and sends digital signals to each module setting up the parameters that control the AESA beam (beam pointing angle, polarization, frequency, etc.) [4].

The MFIRES SDREU, shown in Figure 3, is located in the cabin. This configuration was most convenient for the First Flight system. However, future demonstrations would likely locate the MFIRES SDREU in the pod. Both the timing and control and the RF signal are generated in the MFIRES SDREU and sent to the array. The RF system is under the control of the System Director operating one of the system workstations. The System Director workstation receives the navigation (NAV) data; computes the desired beam pointing angle; and sends it to the AESA digital controller directly. The beam steering information is applied to all the AESA modules when the MFIRES SDREU triggers a beam change. The timing and synchronization between the AESA and MFIRES SDREU is very critical; and is a key requirement for the successful operation of the EW RF system - they must operate as one.


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Inside the Pentagon's Inside the Navy

The Navy's Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) increment one completed its critical design review last week, Naval Air Systems Command announced. The review confirmed the "design and development are on track to meet crucial warfighter requirements, and fabrication, demonstration and test could proceed," according to NAVAIR. The first increment of the jammer is developing a "mid-band" pod capability for the EA-18G Growler aircraft. NAVAIR says the system is now in the engineering and manufacturing development phase. The command claims the new capability "will transform the way the U.S. Navy conducts electronic warfare" once fielded.
Multi-band electronically scanned array antenna - Raytheon Company

A multi-band electronically scanned array antenna including a first sub-assembly having electronic circuits for a first frequency band; a second sub-assembly mechanically coupled to the first sub-assembly and having electronic circuits for a second frequency band; and an aperture adjacent to the first sub-assembly, the aperture being shared by the first sub-assembly and the second sub-assembly. The array antenna may further include a band switching circuit, or a combining circuit for coupling the first sub-assembly or the second sub-assembly to the aperture. The array antenna may also include a third sub-assembly including electronic circuits for a third frequency band. In this way, the aperture is shared by the first sub-assembly, the second sub-assembly, and the third sub-assembly to provide a smaller and lighter array antenna.
The EA-18G Growler is a critical enabler for the Joint force. EA-18G brings fully netted warfare capabilities to the fight, providing unmatched agility in the Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare environment. The Fiscal Year 2018 President's Budget requests $173.5 million of RDT&E for modernization.

To date, 136 EA-18G aircraft have been delivered, representing 85 percent of the funded inventory objective. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) occurred in September 2009 and the Fleet Response Plan was approved in November 2009. Since their initial deployment, Growlers have flown more than 2,300 combat missions and have expended approximately 16 percent of the 7,500 flight hour life per aircraft. Electronic attack capabilities, both carrier-based and expeditionary, continue to mature with development of the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ). NGJ Increment 1 is scheduled to begin replacing the legacy ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System in Fiscal Year 2021. Additionally, we continue to invest in the EA-18G passive detection and identification capabilities while improving network connectivity to provide overall battlespace awareness and targeting for the carrier strike group.

The recent authorization of seven additional EA-18Gs will extend aircraft deliveries into Fiscal Year 2018. With the seven additional aircraft, the total procurement quantity of 160 EA-18Gs fulfills Navy requirements for carrier-based Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) and expeditionary EA-18G squadrons.

Additional EA-18Gs, above the funded procurement objective of 160, may be explored by the Department of Defense as it considers options to support an AEA force structure that meets the Joint Warfighter requirement.

Next Generation Jammer (NGJ)

The Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) is the follow-on to the Vietnam-era AN/ALQ-99 initially fielded in 1971. The ALQ-99 has reached its capability limit both technologically and materially and is challenged against modern state-of-the-art computerized surface-to-air missiles systems. NGJ is designed to provide improved capability in support of Joint and coalition air, land and sea tactical strike missions and is critical to Navy's vision for the future of strike warfare. It will be DoDs only comprehensive tactical airborne electronic attack platform and is required to meet current and emerging threats. NGJ will use Active Electronically Scanned Array technology to provide full-spectrum dominance, the ability to jam multiple frequencies at the same time, higher radiated power, increased precision, and the application of digital techniques to counter increasingly advanced and sophisticated adversary radars and communications systems. NGJ will be implemented in three increments: Mid-Band (Increment 1), Low-Band (Increment 2), and High-Band (Increment 3).

Our Fiscal Year 2018 budget request of $632.9 million RDT&E,N is vital to maintain Increment 1 schedule, continue procurement and assembly of the Engineering and Development Models, and commence developmental flight testing. In addition, $66.7 million RDT&E,N is requested to complete Increment 2 technology feasibility studies and initiate technology demonstration efforts. House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces Hearing - Combat Aviation Modernization Programs and the FY2018 Budget Request.
Next Generation Jammer - Low Band, Demonstration of Existing Technologies (NGJ-LB DET)

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) intends to conduct a full and open competition via Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) resulting in the award of Next Generation Jammer-Low Band, Demonstration of Existing Technologies (NGJ-LB DET) contracts. These contracts will increase the Government's knowledge and understanding with regard to existing antenna and amplifier technologies supporting an airborne, wideband (14:1), low radio frequency (RF) band jamming application where significant space, weight, power and cooling (SWAP-C) constraints exist, such as is the case on carrier-based tactical aircraft (e.g., EA-18G).

3. NAVAIR intends to introduce the NGJ-LB acquisition program into the DoD acquisition cycle at Milestone-B (MS-B). Entry at MS-B requires the implementation of mature technology demonstrated in a relevant environment. The primary purpose of the DET contracts will be to gather data showing whether sufficiently mature technologies exist and, if so, that those mature technologies can be integrated into a podded solution that meets NGJ-LB requirements as installed on the EA 18G. Technology demonstrations pursuant to this contract(s) are planned at multiple test facilities. The data from the demonstrations will be used to confirm assertions of technical maturity, in a relevant environment, in order to support potential program entry at MS-B. The data collected will support the maturity assessment and provide the evidence to be presented to the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) in order to receive authorization to release the RFP for the NGJ-LB Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract. The data to be presented to the MDA will be the cumulative data set from contractor IR&D funded programs, government witnessed testing, and government conducted testing.

4. The DET contracts will not be used to mature technologies, only to demonstrate the current maturity of the technologies that may be used in the NGJ-LB podded solution.

5. DET Contract Tentative Details:
a. Competitive award to up to three offerors
b. Period of performance: 18-20 Months
c. BAA release: Late fourth quarter FY17/Early first quarter FY18
d. The contractor(s) will deliver existing (including IR&D-funded) data to the Government shortly after contract award in order to substantiate the maturity of the Transmitter Group (TG) subsystem to be demonstrated
e. The contractor(s) will be required to deliver CAD files of pod concept outer moldline(s) to allow the Government to assess impacts to EA-18G range and engine performance

6. DET Tentative Testing Facilities:
a. The Facility for Antenna and Radar cross section Measurement (FARM), Patuxent River, MD

7. DET Tentative Test Scope Areas:
a. Frequency coverage
b. Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP)
c. Spatial coverage
d. Spectral purity

8. NAVAIR is not seeking any information from industry in response to this notice. In the coming months, NAVAIR will provide additional information on the anticipated DET competition. A draft NGJ-LB DET Statement of Objectives will be made available to industry on the Technical Library in late June or early July 2017, followed by release of the draft performance goals in late July or early August 2017.
Latest Selected Acquisition Report on the NGJ -

Executive Summary -

The NGJ Inc 1 program is currently executing on cost and on schedule.

NGJ Inc 1 is the next step in the evolution of Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) and is needed to meet current and emerging Electronic Warfare gaps in the mid-frequency range, ensure kill chain wholeness against growing threat capabilities and capacity, and to keep pace with threat weapons systems advances and continuous expansion of the AEA mission area. NGJ Inc 1 capabilities will address AEA capability gaps, AEA sufficiency gaps, and address ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System shortfalls in scalability, flexibility, supportability, interoperability, availability, and capability in the mid-frequency range. The system will deliver significantly improved radar and communications jamming capabilities with Open Systems Architecture that supports software and hardware updates to rapidly counter improving threats, and will contribute across the spectrum of missions defined in the Defense Strategic Guidance to include strike warfare, projecting power despite anti- access/area denial challenges, and counterinsurgency/irregular warfare.

Principal technical risks for the program are associated with NGJ Inc 1 pod weight, Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP), and EA-18G integration/interoperability. The weight and EIRP risks are driven by the requirement of the NGJ Inc 1 program to achieve significant capability increases over current airborne jammers, while operating in a challenging electromagnetic and aeromechanical environment and packaged in a highly restrictive form factor for carriage on a carrier- based tactical aircraft. A very methodical, build-up test strategy and risk management approach has been implemented, utilizing 21 technical knowledge points and a build-up test strategy (component level build and test, subsystem build, integration and test, and system level test in system integration laboratories, anechoic chambers (installed on aircraft), and in-flight on test ranges). An incentive plan has been incorporated in the EMD contract tied specifically to the risks and associated technical knowledge points, with shared technical incentive fee between the aircraft contractor (Boeing) and the pod contractor (Raytheon) as well as specific pod system level technical incentive fee for Raytheon only. Continuous focus on supplier performance and management is also critical to success.

In December 2016, The Boeing Company was awarded a modification to a previously awarded cost reimbursement contract to provide for the integration of the NGJ Inc 1 pod onto the EA-18G aircraft. This effort is in support of the EMD phase of the NGJ Inc 1 program and includes the design and manufacturing of 15 engineering change proposal (ECP) 6472 A kits, and the integration, demonstration and test of NGJ Inc 1 pods on the EA-18G aircraft.

On April 27, 2017, the program completed its Critical Design Review.
Major developmental testing for the NGJ Inc 1 program will begin in FY 2017 with system-level scale model wind tunnel testing. Future NGJ Inc 1 testing will include aeromechanical, mission systems, system and EA-18G integration, and product support tests culminating in Initial Operational Test and Evaluation in FY 2021.

At Milestone B, the USD(AT&L) waived provision (3)(D) of 10 U.S. Code § 2366b, which states that funding is available to execute the product development and production plan under the program through the period covered by the future-years defense program submitted during the fiscal year in which the certification is made. The Milestone B cost estimate identified funding requirements above what was allocated in the FY 2017 PB. PB 2018 provides full funding for the program; therefore, this will be the last time this waiver is reported in the SAR.
There are no significant software-related issues with this program at this time.


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Technology Readiness of the Navy's Next Generation Jammer - DOD Inspector General March 2018


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bring_it_on said:
Technology Readiness of the Navy's Next Generation Jammer - DOD Inspector General March 2018

I don't understand this timeline.

4/2016 - Milestone B approved - OK to move to EMD

** At this point, prior to 4/2016, NAVAIR's selected a second group of "independent" SME's and they have completed a TRA for Increment 1 to determine which tech was critical and how it was to be tested. Then an ASD, also prior to 4/2016, had sat a wholly different group of SME's that have also determined that the first SME's (first SME's but second group if you're following) selected the correct tech, tests and that those test conclusions were "adequately demonstrated".

8/2017-3/2018 - A fourth group, IG, "reviews the review" of the third group, which reviewed the second group, which was required because we didn't trust the first group (those responsible for the system) to do it.

I won't get started on the fact that four groups were necessary. It's bureaucratic CYA on a monumental level. But on top of all that, why did it take sixteen months for IG to get started on their review?

No wonder these programs take forever and cost a fortune. No motivation. Deadlines are determined in decades.
NGJ was the first program under the "Skunk Works" pilot effort intended to streamline the acquisition process.
So there's not a formal TRA report as there would be under the typical process..which draws a bit more scrutiny.
NeilChapman said:
No wonder these programs take forever and cost a fortune. No motivation. Deadlines are determined in decades.

The Navy awarded Raytheon the EMD contract on the 13th of April 2016, with a December 2020 expected completion date.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., April 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) a $1 billion sole source contract for Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) for Increment 1 of the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ), the advanced electronic attack technology that combines high-powered, agile, beam-jamming techniques with cutting-edge, solid-state electronics.

Raytheon will deliver 15 Engineering Development Model pods for mission systems testing and qualification, and 14 aeromechanical pods for airworthiness certification. The NGJ contract, awarded in the second quarter and announced on April 13th, also covers designing and delivering simulators and prime hardware to government labs and support for flight testing and government system integration.
bring_it_on said:
NeilChapman said:
No wonder these programs take forever and cost a fortune. No motivation. Deadlines are determined in decades.

The Navy awarded Raytheon the EMD contract on the 13th of April 2016, with a December 2020 expected completion date.

Yep, for Increment 1 of a 3 Increment program. If you tell them Increment 1 will take 5 years it will take 5 years, if not 7.

I was in a cab from Logan to the city while the Big Dig was underway. Seems the cabby's brother-in-law was a welder on the job. So I asked, "When does he say the job will be finished?" "When his last child finishes college!" was the answer.

Need disruptors in the aerospace industry.

Perhaps another acquisition model should be explored such as the one NASA used for the Commercial Crew Program.
Yep, for Increment 1 of a 3 Increment program. If you tell them Increment 1 will take 5 years it will take 5 years, if not 7.

I am not sure what this is supposed to mean but just want to point out that each increment is a seperate program and will be competed. Sometimes the acquisition strategy and schedule are based on need and availability of funding and you may not either have a need to field all 3 increments at once, or the money to run a mega $15 billion program concurrently.
bring_it_on said:
Yep, for Increment 1 of a 3 Increment program. If you tell them Increment 1 will take 5 years it will take 5 years, if not 7.

I am not sure what this is supposed to mean but just want to point out that each increment is a seperate program and will be competed. Sometimes the acquisition strategy and schedule are based on need and availability of funding and you may not either have a need to field all 3 increments at once, or the money to run a mega $15 billion program concurrently.

Yes. Thank you.

My point has more to do with the length of time the program is "designed" to take. There is little of no motivation for the contractor to work faster or remove cost.
Right but in this case, as Marauder pointed out, the Navy was allowed to use the NGJ (increment 1) as the demo program for the "skunk works" initiative to pilot a more agile acquisition strategy (probably why there was slightly more oversight as he points out). However, having said that the technology maturation takes time as this is not an easy material solution to engineer. Even during the CDR last year, several discoveries were made prompting certain design changes.
Lockheed Martin and Cobham team-up for a next generation jammer

The Lockheed Martin and Cobham team will leverage expertise in both companies to offer the U.S. Navy a critically important system with increased capability and reduced risk," said Joe Ottaviano, director of electronic warfare at Lockheed Martin. "Our team is confident we can meet the Navy's need for improved jamming capabilities with a scalable, open architecture design that balances capabilities with size, weight and power constraints.Both partners on the team bring critical capabilities and areas of expertise. Cobham developed and was the only production partner to the U.S. Navy for the ALQ-99 Low Band Transmitter/Antenna Group (LBT/AG) and has been supporting the LBT/AG program for more than 20 years. Lockheed Martin has been developing electronic warfare solutions for more than 40 years and has experience with various airborne and naval electronic warfare programs, including the Advanced Off-Board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) system and the multi-mission AN/ALQ-210 and AN/ALQ-217 Electronic Support Measures (ESM) systems for the U.S. Navy. These Lockheed Martin products provide situational awareness, threat warning and proven electronic warfare solutions to detect, track and deter incoming threats.

"Cobham has continued to invest in state-of-the-art, next generation Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) transmitter capabilities for the EA-18G community and looks forward to continuing to deliver reliable and scalable solutions well into the future," said Jim Barber, senior vice president of Cobham Integrated Electronic Solutions, a business unit of Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions. "Our strong partnership with Lockheed Martin on programs such as AOEW and the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2, along with our collective capabilities and heritage with the electronic warfare community will provide the best value for the U.S. Navy."

The NGJ-LB system will be integrated on the EA-18G aircraft and will replace the ALQ-99 low band pods. The ALQ-99 is a tactical jamming system that has been deployed on the EA-6B Prowler and now the EA-18G Growler. The NGJ-LB system will provide significantly greater electronic attack capabilities in the lower frequency bands of the electromagnetic spectrum against modern threats.

Cobham is the only company to continuously provide ALQ-99 Airborne Electronic Attack transmitters to the U.S. Navy since the initial operational deployment of the EA-6B in 1972, delivering over 850 transmitters. Since that time, Cobham has invested in cutting edge Gallium Nitride (GaN) power amplifier and antenna technology to ensure that the Navy's high performance, reliability, and sustainability needs are met. Cobham's latest ALQ-99 Low Band Transmitter has provided critical protection for U.S. and coalition warfighters since 2005.
bring_it_on said:
Right but in this case, as Marauder pointed out, the Navy was allowed to use the NGJ (increment 1) as the demo program for the "skunk works" initiative to pilot a more agile acquisition strategy (probably why there was slightly more oversight as he points out). However, having said that the technology maturation takes time as this is not an easy material solution to engineer. Even during the CDR last year, several discoveries were made prompting certain design changes.

Then perhaps there should a parallel, continuous, multi-vendor, tech dev program so that incremental upgrades will be available. Something on the lines of the ADVENT/AETD/AETP programs.

If the tech is that difficult then one shouldn't wait until the guests arrive to prep the meal. These timelines are ridiculous, expensive, and results in DoD being at the mercy of the vendor. With continuous tech maturation DoD knows what's possible and can reduce the risk/timelines/cost of a new solution such as we've seen with B-21.
Then perhaps there should a parallel, continuous, multi-vendor, tech dev program so that incremental upgrades will be available. Something on the lines of the ADVENT/AETD/AETP programs.

The technology maturation phase is what happened immediately prior to the EMD phase. Incremental upgrades must not be confused with an incremental approach to field the program. Even though all three efforts are under the umbrella of the NGJ and under PMA-234, these are three distinct programs which will be competed and procured as separate ACAT-1 efforts.

Their procurement timelines/schedules are based on replacement needs, technology maturity, risk, and ultimately budget availability. Running three parallel programs costs money, hence they split them into three phase and prioritized the increments which were the most urgently needed. On the Increment-2 or Low band side there was some movement to see if the TMRR could be shortened or more mature options chosen so that they could enter EMD quicker. This was mainly driven by the desire to develop and procure the capability within the budget. For Increment-3 which will come much later there needs to be quite a bit of tech development as risks will remain high given the power and thermal margins given the high frequency nature of those set of pods. It is quite likely that technologies are still at quite low readiness levels to support that and efforts on the S&T side are currently being run to mature them so that they are suffeciently advanced by the time that effort gets going.

You can never compare programs that are completely unrelated such as efforts to develop a future engine (those come with much longer lead times and cost a ton more) but in this case the program has budgeted a fair amount of time for Technology maturation before conducting reviews and allowing the program to roll into EMD as the NGJ-1 did. They were even able to demonstrate jamming against targets at range during this phase. Last year, the Navy asked for a Demonstration of Existing Technologies (DET) for the Increment-2 effort and I believe a few vendors have been reported to be flying or developing hardware for that purpose (I believe AvWeek reported on Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed and Cobham and come together as well). Through this effort I am sure they will be working through an assessment on what sort of capability is available to see if they can shorten or completely eliminate TMRR in order to possibly move the schedule to the left or manage the program within a certain budget the navy has committed to it.

As I said earlier, some timelines and acquisition strategies are budget driven and you cannot move them to the left without an increase in financial commitment. The Navy could have run all three Increments concurrently, either via one source selection or as three separate programs. But as I said, they did not choose that approach due to a combination of need and the need to stay within the long term Navy budget. Hence three bite sized increments, spread out in such a way that the bulk of the RDT&E or Acquisition investment in one increment does not overlap with the corresponding RDT&E or acquisition investment in the other. If more funds are available the Navy could possibly move Increment-2 and 3 plans to the left but If I were to guess, I would think that the Navy would first want to outfit the entire Growler fleet with the Mid Band pods because as of now (based on the last SAR) they were only committed to 135 pairs for a Growler fleet of 160.
NGJ video from Raytheon
Posting a portion of a lengthy article linked below on the NGJ over at Jane's IDR.
[Link currently not working]

Feel the noise: Next Generation Jammer brings electronic attack into the digital age; Jane's International Defence Review

Enhanced performance

Accordingly, NGJ-MB is intended to expand the current AN/ALQ-99 mission set to include non-kinetic attack against a full spectrum of agile and adaptive communications, datalinks, and non-traditional radio frequency (RF) targets. This demands a technical solution that is more precise in its jamming effects (regarding frequency range, coherency, pointing accuracy, spatial coverage, techniques, equivalent isotropically radiated power [EIRP], spectral purity, time, and polarisation), provide the ability to effectively engage enemy threats from increased stand-off distances, over a wide frequency range and field of regard, and deliver increased capacity (number of jamming assignments) against enemy targets.

At the same time, it must be fully compatible with the size, weight, and power constraints of the EA-18G in the escort/stand-off mission profile – and have sufficient ram air turbine generator power generation to provide the pod system with the power required without drawing from the host platform. Also, the adoption of a modular open systems architecture (MOSA) is required to promote re-configurability, maintainability, technology insertion, and long-term supportability.

In short, the performance expectations of the NGJ-MB system push the limits of power generation and jamming capability while constraining the materials and components to stricter size and weight requirements than the previous systems. Speaking at the Farnborough International Airshow in July 2018, Travis Slocumb, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems’ vice-president for electronic warfare systems, said the company’s NGJ-MB solution has been engineered step-by-step to integrate gallium nitride (GaN)-based active electronically scanned array (AESA) antennas, an all-digital receiver and multi-channel techniques generator within a non-proprietary MOSA architecture. “Step 1 is to convert from free space, from airflow, to prime power using a state-of-the-art ram air turbine,” he said. “Then step 2, design a structure that meets the weight, size, and aerodynamic performance requirements for the Growler mission.

“That’s been a challenge. The weight constraint, and the weight-constrained design on this programme, has been something that’s been a focus for the whole team for the past several years, but we’ve managed to get there.

“Step 3, design and develop a powerplant and front-end – in this case based upon AESA technology – that supports the mission from an EIRP perspective [and that] gives you the polarisation, the coverage, and the agility you need to counter the threat.”

Step 4 is about all-digital technique generation, and software-based system design, according to Slocumb. “So this is basically a software-based radio as a jammer that supports future upgrades [and] future threats. [It means] as the threats evolve, we can meet the challenge through software upgrades on a regular basis … the architecture is open [and is] based upon published open standards to support third-party development.

“This architecture also supports future block upgrades. That’s very important because [this system] is going to be around for decades, and there will be technologies that will be able to be inserted.”

Other key NGJ-MB sub-contractors include General Dynamics (radomes), Abaco Systems (processor cards), and Honeywell (ram air turbines). The ram air turbine, which provides prime power for NGJ, is based on a design originally developed and tested by CFD Research (demonstrating repeatable 65 kW performance levels). “You’ve got to take airstream and produce power, and lots of it,” noted Capt Orr.

Initial operating capability (IOC) is currently scheduled for 2022. According to latest budget documentation, a contract award for seven system demonstration test article pod shipsets is expected in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019), and these to be used for final developmental test efforts and operational test.

The first flight of an aeromechanical developmental test shape is scheduled for the first quarter of FY 2020. This is to be followed in the second quarter of FY 2020 by the first radiating flight of an EDM pod.


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With NGJ making progress has there been any talk of the USAF getting back into the jamming business? What aircraft would have the most potential as a platform for NGJ? I know in the past there has been some talk of the F-35 carrying it but that seems like an awful lot for one pilot to manage. At least the EA-18G has the second crew member.
Why would the NGJ making progress suddenly get the USAF to begin fielding the tactical AEA capability? One would think that if the DOD, through its capabilities review process, found some lack of AEA then the logical decision would be to increase the number of EA-18Gs with the Navy since it is the Navy which would be providing the capability to the joint forces. I think that would be a better outcome because the competencies already live with the Navy units and you wouldn't be unnecessarily duplicating capability under the USAF banner. That said, more Growlers would require the restart of production of some of the key components that go into the aircraft (wiring/cabling etc) so it will have some fixed cost element.

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