Navy’s powerful aerial jamming pod moves to next phase

WASHINGTON (c4isrnet): The Navy has approved the low-rate rate initial production for the first iteration of its new, powerful airborne jamming pod.

In a June 29 announcement, contractor Raytheon Technologies said it completed what’s known as Milestone C for the Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band. Milestone C, in Pentagon parlance, is the decision that leads to procurement with low-rate initial production and deployment.

The jammer is the Navy’s premier aerial electronic attack platform that will replace the ALQ-99 jamming pod and be mounted aboard EA-18 Growler aircraft. It is broken into three pods covering three portions of the electromagnetic spectrum: mid, low and high.

Raytheon was awarded the mid-band pod in 2016. L3Harris Technologies was awarded the low-band pod in December.

The Milestone C designation was initially planned for March 2021, but that slipped. It was rescheduled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Procurement funding for the mid-band pod dipped slightly in the most recent budget request to balance higher Navy war-fighting priorities, a Navy spokesperson told C4ISRNET.

“We need to work with the resources we have now to invest deliberately in the future Navy, so that we can continue to support current and future national defense priorities,” the spokesperson said. “The Navy’s FY22 request reflects the priorities as detailed in the U.S. strategic guidance and the National Defense Strategy.”

While noting that all funding outside the budget year should be viewed as pre-decisional, in last year’s budget the Navy projected it would spend $311.5 million in procurement for the mid-band pod, while the fiscal 2022 budget requested $266.6 million.

The Navy requested $243.9 million in its FY22 request for research and development on the mid-band pod and $248 million for the low-band version.