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Northrop Grumman expands NGJ-Low Band development team

Northrop Grumman expands NGJ-Low Band development team

Northrop Grumman has expanded its Next Generation Jammer-Low Band (NGJ-LB) Capability Block 1 (CB-1) solution team with the addition of proven structure supplier CPI Aero to support the delivery of key electronic warfare capability.

Northrop Grumman has expanded its Next Generation Jammer-Low Band (NGJ-LB) Capability Block 1 (CB-1) solution team with the addition of proven structure supplier CPI Aero to support the delivery of key electronic warfare capability.

Following the proposal submittal for NGJ-LB in January, Northrop Grumman is moving forward with CB-1 execution by selecting CPI Aero to provide the NGJ-LB pod structure and assembly, advancing on the US Navy’s speed to fleet path.

Paul Kalafos, Northrop Grumman’s vice president, surveillance and electromagnetic maneuver warfare, explained, “The addition of CPI Aero to our NGJ-LB team will help provide rapid fleet capability to the Navy.


“They have extensive experience in providing aircraft and pod structural components for several Department of Defense customers, and we are proud to have them on our team of EW engineering and mission experts, helping the Navy maintain its warfighting edge through advanced airborne electronic attack (AEA) capabilities,” Kalafos added.

Doug McCrosson, CPI Aero’s president and CEO, added, “Our leading structures and assembly experience is used by the Navy’s EA-18G, E-2D, MH-60S and CH-53K systems, and we have a well-established record providing these components on time, efficiently and with consistent high quality.”

CPI Aero is also the current supplier of record for pod structure and assembly for the Navy’s ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band program.

Northrop Grumman is the AEA integrator for the Navy’s current EA-18G Growler electronic warfare system.

The NGJ-LB will fly on the EA-18G Growler, providing advanced AEA capabilities. Northrop Grumman has been working closely with the Navy to build and demonstrate survivable and capable carrier-based solutions for over 50 years.

Starting with the AN/ALQ-86 to the current AN/ALQ-99, AN/ALQ-218 and AN/ALQ-240 for EA-18G and P-8, Northrop Grumman is helping define the future of naval electronic warfare through artificial intelligence, cognitive solutions, software-defined and hardware-enabled multifunction technologies and open architecture systems.

Building on the company’s current expertise as the electronic attack mission suite provider (integrating the ALQ-99 tactical jamming system and ALQ-218 tactical jamming receiver) for the Royal Australian Air Force and US Navy Boeing EA-18G Growler fleets, Northrop Grumman stands ready to deliver continued enhancements and future Growler capabilities for Australia.

Northrop Grumman’s upgrade program for the US Navy’s Growlers will see capability improvements developed for Australia’s own fleet of electronic attack Growler aircraft. 

“Northrop Grumman is a leader in multimission electronic maneuver warfare technologies and a strong partner of the Australian Defence Force, both through our local business unit and through the US foreign military sales program. We are particularly proud of our ongoing support of the Royal Australian Air Force’s No. 6 Squadron as it employs and enhances its Boeing E/A-18G Growler fleet,” said a Northrop Grumman spokesperson following the announcement of Northrop Grumman’s participation in the Next Generation Jammer program in late 2018. 

Australia’s fleet of 11 EA-18G Growlers will be based at RAAF Base Amberley and operate in conjunction with our air, land and sea forces.

Based on F-18E/F Super Hornet variant of the wildly successful Boeing Hornet, the EA-18G Growler has proven itself to be an invaluable asset to the US when deployed overseas. As the only nation besides the US to fly the Growler, Australia has developed unique training procedures in conjunction with US Navy partners to fully utilise the capabilities of the aircraft. 

Australia’s Growlers were part of a larger US Navy buy of 44 Super Hornets and Growlers in July 2014, with the first Australian EA-18G making its first flight in July 2015.

All 12 original Australian Growlers were formally welcomed to their home base at RAAF Amberley in 2017, providing air crews and pilots the opportunity to build familiarity and an understanding of the aircraft and its unique capabilities. 

The partnership between the US Navy and the RAAF has been instrumental in ensuring that Australia’s Growler pilots, crew and the capability of the aircraft is maximised, particularly as Australia is essentially building the electronic attack capability from the ground up.

This has meant that Australian pilots and aircrews are undergoing extensive familiarisation and training programs with US Navy counterparts prior to additional training in Australia in order to incorporate the capabilities of the aircraft into the wider RAAF and ADF. 

It is now expected that the Growlers of No. 6 Squadron RAAF will be capable of providing limited, force-level electronic warfare.

This means that until final operating capability (FOC) is achieved, the aircraft will be largely limited to peacetime operations or responding to regional contingencies as needed.

Reaching FOC will require additional testing and broader integration with key ADF assets, particularly the Navy’s new air warfare destroyers, Air Force’s E-7 Wedgetail AEWC aircraft and later F-35s and key ground assets of the Army to ensure that the ADF is developed into a full-spectrum, integrated force.

FOC for Australia’s Growlers is expected in 2022.