Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band pods are approved for low-volume production. (Liz Wolter/Navy) (U.S. Navy Photo: Liz Wolter)
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy has approved low-volume initial production of the first iteration of its new, powerful airborne jamming pod.
In a June 29, 2021 announcement, contractor Raytheon Technologies said it had completed so-called Milestone C for the next-generation jammer mid-band. In Pentagon parlance, Milestone C is the decision that leads to procurement in small batches of initial production and deployment.
The jammer, the US Navy’s premier airborne Electronic attack platform, will replace the ALQ-99 jammer pod and be installed on the EA-18 Growler Electronic warfare aircraft. It is divided into three jamming pods covering three parts of the electromagnetic spectrum: medium, low and high.
Raytheon acquired the mid-band pod in 2016. L3Harris Technologies acquired the low-band pod in December.
The designation of Milestone C was initially planned for March 2021 but failed to materialize. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program has been rescheduled.
A Navy spokesperson told the media that in the most recent budget request, funding for the acquisition of intermediate frequency pods was slightly reduced to balance higher U.S. Navy operational priorities.
“We need to make a conscious investment in the Navy of the future, using the resources we have now, so that we can continue to support current and future defense priorities,” the spokesperson said. “The Navy’s FY22 request reflects U.S. strategic guidance and defense priorities detailed in the strategy.”
While noting that all funding outside of the budget year should be considered pre-determined, in last year’s budget, the US Navy expected to spend $311.5 million on intermediate-frequency pods, compared with the $266.6 million requested in fiscal 2022.
The US Navy requested $243.9 million in its FY22 R&D application for mid-band pods and $248 million for low-band pods.
About Mark Pomerleau
Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.