Raytheon will deliver 15 EMD pods for mission systems testing and qualification as well as 14 aeromechanical pods for airworthiness certification. NGJ-MB is a high-capacity and power airborne electronic attack weapon system for the E/A-18G Growler. It will protect air forces by denying, degrading and disrupting threat radars and communication devices.
Stefan Baur, vice president of Raytheon Electronic Warfare Systems, said, "The first NGJ-MB pod is out the door. We are one step closer to extending the Navy's jamming range and capability. Delivery of this pod will allow for the initial verification of ground procedures, mass properties, aircraft installation, and built-in test checks in preparation for future chamber and flight test."
Additionally, in the third quarter of 2019, Raytheon will utilise a Prime Power Generation Capability pod installed on a commercial Gulfstream aircraft in order to conduct power generation flight testing and risk reduction efforts in support of the initial flight clearance process.
Raytheon's NGJ-MB architecture and design include the ability to operate at a significantly enhanced range, attack multiple targets simultaneously and advanced jamming techniques. The technology can also be scaled to other missions and platforms.
Initially purchased alongside the more traditional Super Hornet variants to supplement Australia's ageing fleet of classic Hornets and the diminished strike capability following the retirement of the F-111s, prior to the full integration of the Air Force's 72 planned F-35s, IOC is expected to be delivered to the RAAF in the coming months.
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 of Australia's 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.
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.
Raytheon, with 2018 sales of US$27 billion and 67,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specialising in defence, civil government and cyber security solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 97 years, Raytheon provides electronics, mission systems integration, C5I products and services, sensing, effects and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.