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US Navy receives first next-generation Growler jammer pods

The Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) fleet representative pods were delivered to the US Navy in July 2022. The pods are part of a system that will eventually replace the Boeing EA-18G Growler's ALQ-99 system. (US Navy)

Raytheon Intelligence & Space recently delivered its first ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) pods to the US Navy. The jammer pods are part of a system that will eventually replace the Boeing EA-18G Growler's ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System.

Raytheon delivered the pods to the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Patuxent River, Maryland, on 7 July, the service announced on 8 August. The pods will be used to complete the jammer's developmental test programme and start the operational test programme, the navy said in a statement. Initial operational capability (IOC) is scheduled for the second half of 2023.

The NGJ-MB has more power than the Growler's ALQ-99 and the ability to target multiple systems, said Lieutenant Alexander Belbin, project officer with NAWCAD's Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23.

The NGJ-MB has more than 5,000 hours of lab testing and 300 hours of development flight testing as part of the developmental test phase, according to the navy. The rest of the developmental test phase will take place at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, California. VX-9, at Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake, will conduct operational tests.

In addition, the navy is considering ways to increase the NGJ-MB's capabilities. In August, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced that it will award a cost-plus fixed-fee contract to Raytheon to research ways to expand the ALQ-249(V)1 NGJ-MB's Mid-Band 2 (MB2) frequency coverage.

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