The US Navy’s Next Generation Jammer Low Band (NGJ-LB) programme has concluded test events at two Naval Air Station Patuxent River facilities in Maryland.
Tests were conducted on schedule at the two facilities simultaneously with limited staff due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
During the pandemic restrictions, the Airborne Electronic Attack Systems Program Office (PMA-234) NGJ-LB team was set to commence its final Demonstration of Existing Technologies (DET) testing.
Following the restrictions, the test execution requirements and logistics were reassessed to meet the Center for Disease Control and NAVAIR readjustments guidelines.
Within two months, testing was concluded with two contractors’ prototype pods at both the Air Combat Environmental Test and Evaluation Facility (ACETEF) and the Facility for Antenna and RCS Measurement (FARM).
As per the restrictions, FARM and ACETEF control rooms underwent a 50% staff reduction.
Despite the restrictions, the NGJ-LB test teams consisted of PMA-234 Program Office, L3Harris, Northrop Grumman Corporation, FARM, ACETEF, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
In addition, the teams that conducted the tests included Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division, PMA-234’s Jammer Technique Optimization (JATO), and Southern Maryland Crane Rental personnel.
FARM lead Greg Brannon said: “Limiting the number of people allowed on the FARM during testing reduced the security staff required to keep track of them.
“Further, the spaces in the FARM’s test facilities are small, and the limitations to the number of people allowed in those spaces made it much more comfortable for those involved.”
L3Harris and Northrop Grumman secured the 22 month DET contract, which is scheduled to conclude later this year.
The US Navy is currently set to select a prime contractor to develop the NGJ-LB Capability Block 1 tactical jamming operational prototypes.
Once developed, the NGJ-LB will replace the ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System.