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Haystead J, Jun-2012. NGJ, Advanced Tactical Jamming for Next-Generation Warfare, The Journal of Electronic Defense Vol. 35 No. 6

Haystead J, Jun-2012. NGJ, Advanced Tactical Jamming for Next-Generation Warfare, The Journal of Electronic Defense Vol. 35 No. 6

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Published by: Foro Militar General on Oct 15, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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“As important as it is toreplace the ALQ-99 for purelysustainment reasons, the realdriving force behind NGJ is thegrowing number of anti-accessarea denial (A2AD) capabilitiesemerging in the world today –the highly-integrated air defensesystems (IADS) and double-digitSAMs that really do make itchallenging for the warfighter,particularly strike warfare, butin other areas as well. NGJ iscritical in that way.”
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By John Haystead
The AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System has been the backbone of US air-borne electronic attack (AEA) capabilities since the 1970s. It has flownon the EA-6B Prowler, the EF-111A Raven (retired in 1998) and the EA-18GGrowler, supporting both air and ground forces in a variety of operationsover the past four decades. Despite its long life and its adaptability, the ag-ing ALQ-99 lacks the capability to defeat newer air defense systems alreadybeing exported into the international market, as well as more modern voiceand data communication technologies.The ALQ-99’s age underscores the need for a new, more capable stand-off jamming system – the US Navy’s Next Generation Jammer (NGJ). NGJ isintended to perform a broad range of tactical stand-off jamming missions,including the suppression of advanced air defense systems, as well as disrup-tion or denial of modern communications, in both conventional and irregularwarfare scenarios. As the replacement for the ALQ-99, NGJ will provide greaterelectronic attack versatility and precision, as well as more powerful jammingagainst radars and communications at substantially greater standoff ranges.“NGJ really will be next-generation technology, with major new capabili-ties,” explains CAPT John Green, Program Manager for Airborne ElectronicAttack and EA-6B (PMA 234) at Naval Air Systems Command (NAS PatuxentRiver, MD). “As important as it is to replace the ALQ-99 for purely sustain-ment reasons, the real driving force behind NGJ is the growing number of anti-access area denial (A2AD) capabilities emerging in the world today –the highly-integrated air defense systems (IADS) and double-digit SAMsthat really do make it challenging for the warfighter, particularly strikewarfare, but in other areas as well. NGJ is critical in that way.Green notes that NGJ will deliver more than 10 times the effective radi-ated power (ERP) of the current ALQ-99 system and will also incorporate ad-vanced coherent jamming capabilities. “The ALQ-99 is really a non-coherent jammer for the most part, primarily putting out noise, and that’s not whatwe’re about with NGJ.” Green adds that although NGJ will also have this brute-force capability, its jamming energy typically will be much more targeted inboth direction and frequency. He explains, “When it makes sense, we’ll have
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the capability to cover a precise spot overthe ground, as well as to ‘notch out’ cer-tain frequencies from the jamming – forexample, preserving the use of one com-munication frequency while jamming onthe frequency right next to it.”
The NGJ program is currently in atechnology maturation (TM) phase withfour contractors competing to continueon to the follow-on technology develop-ment (TD) phase. The four contractors– BAE Systems, ITT Exelis, Northrop-Grumman and Raytheon – were allawarded TM-phase contracts in July of 2010, and all recently received $20+ mil-lion contract modification/extensions.The TM effort is expected to be complet-ed by April 2013, at which point therewill be a Milestone A decision. If suc-cessful, a single TD contract will then beawarded in June of that same year.As explained by Green, the rationalefor a single TD award, rather than amore common multi-contractor competi-tion, is partially the result of the pro-gram’s extended TM phase which “hasn’trevealed any unanticipated technicalrisks,” he said. “The technical require-ments are well understood based on cur-rently flying airborne electronic attackprograms, associated Navy and univer-sity labs and support and test organi-zations, and it is the Navy’s belief thatthere are no significant drawbacks withthis change, while benefits include sig-nificant cost avoidance, improved pro-gram executability and reduced risk.”Still, Green acknowledges that costcontrol will, in fact, be a larger con-cern with the single-vendor approach.“I do share this concern of the leader-ship within the Navy and OSD, and we’llneed to work very closely with whoeverthe winner is to look at affordability atevery phase of the program.” Althoughhe agrees with the generally-acceptedpremise that the longer a competition iscarried, the more opportunity there willusually be to drive down the cost of endunits, he points out that “the challengewith this particular system is that we’reonly buying 114 ship sets, so while we’renot quite upside down, we’re close, witha very expensive development programrelative to the number of systems we’regoing to produce.” Green says continu-ing to carry two vendors through thedevelopment phase just wasn’t some-thing there was an appetite for in thecurrent budget environment, but agreesthat “it does put greater onus on the
“When it makes sense, we’ll have the capabilityto cover a precise spot over the ground, as wellas to ‘notch out’ certain frequencies from the jamming for example, preserving the use of onecommunication frequency while jamming on thefrequency right next to it.”

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