Standoff Jammer Work Goes Forward

The Air Force Research Lab has awarded Boeing a $14.9 million contract to mature standoff jamming technologies for the service’s core component jammer concept, the company announced June 27. Under the contract, which USAF first announced June 23, Boeing and principal industrial partner Northrop Grumman, will conduct engineering studies over the next three years focused on integrating powerful jamming pods on the wingtips of the B-52H bomber. The BUFF has been designated as the demonstration airframe for the CCJ capability, but USAF officials are not yet committing to the venerable bomber as the platform of choice beyond the demonstration, which is planned notionally for 2011-12 after the initial three-year effort. “This is the first step in getting this capability fielded, and the B-52H is the right platform to mature this technology,” said Scot Oathout, Boeing’s director of B-52 programs. Air Force officials have said they would like to field CCJ in the middle part of next decade when the US military expects to face a jamming gap once the EA-6B fleet is retired. Efforts to field a similar capability earlier next decade under the standoff jammer program faltered after costs increased almost seven-fold due to spiraling requirements. The Air Force structured the follow-on CCJ program to be far more affordable, but hasn’t had the funds yet or the Office of the Secretary of Defense-level approval to launch it in earnest. Flight reported June 26 that the Air Force plans to spend $68 million over the next five years on this work. Boeing and Northrop teamed last November for CCJ-related work.