Raytheon will design and test key subsystems for the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) pod and take the program through the preliminary design review under its 22-month, $279.4 million contract for the technology development (TD) phase.

Work will include performance demonstrations of the pod’s active, electronically scanned array (AESA) apertures, prime power generation, cooling systems, jamming exciters and structural components, according to Naval Air Systems Command (Navair).

Prototype ground tests will take these subsystems to a technology readiness level (TRL) of 6, ready to enter the subsequent, 54-month engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase. Initial operational capability for the NGJ is planned for fiscal 2020.

The NGJ is being developed to replace the ALQ-99 tactical jamming system carried by the Navy’s 135 planned Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic-attack aircraft.

Also during the TD phase, Navair says, “pod-to-EA-18G integration efforts and interfaces will be highly defined, since a high level of aircraft/NGJ interoperability is required to successfully execute all jamming missions.”

Aerodynamic performance, stability and control, and separation testing will be conducted using wind-tunnel test articles. But full-scale pod flight tests will not take place until the EMD phase, Navair says.

TD follows on from a 33-month technology maturation (TM) effort completed by four competing contractor teams: BAE Systems, ITT Exelis, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.

Navair says the TM phase matured and demonstrated critical technologies including the ability of AESAs “to more efficiency deliver high power in a relatively small aperture … amplifier efficiencies and beam forming technologies.”