$5.1 billion will be spent on the production of major electronic attack (EA) programmes from 2016 through 2025, according to a new report, which says the top contractors during this timeframe of leading EA systems will be Raytheon, Harris, Northrop Grumman, and Thales.
In its report entitled The Market for Electronic Attack Systems, Forecast International projects that from 2016 through 2020, $2.8 billion will be spent on the production of some 14,610 units. From 2021 through 2025, $2.3 billion will be spent delivering 13,094 units to the marketplace.
For the purposes of the report, the electronic attack (EA) category encompasses systems that perform an electronic offensive function, such as those dedicated to jamming communications and radar, as well as systems designed for airborne platform self-protection such as IR missile countermeasures and other electronic countermeasures systems.
In terms of specific systems, the U.S. Navy’s in-development Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) will have a major impact on the market when it reaches full-rate production, replacing aging ALQ-99 tactical jamming system pods on EA-18G Growlers. The standoff jamming initiative is easily the service’s most important electronic warfare program. When complete, the NGJ will provide U.S. forces with an enhanced ability to disrupt and disable an enemy’s ground-based communications and electronic warfare capabilities.
“The NGJ program is a major priority for the Pentagon, and high levels of funding are assured through the next several years,” said Forecast International senior analyst Andrew Dardine. “Based on a projection of the FY16 defense budget, over $3 billion is likely to be spent on the effort through the forecast period.”
In April 2016, the U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon a $1 billion sole-source contract for engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the NGJ as part of Increment 1. Raytheon reports that it will deliver 15 Engineering Development Model pods for mission systems testing and qualification, and 14 aeromechanical pods for airworthiness certification.
As for self-protection programs, the AAQ-24 Directed Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) system is currently installed or scheduled for installation on several hundred military aircraft, ranging from large fixed-wing to small rotary-wing platforms.
The Pentagon’s FY16 budget includes $373 million for DIRCM procurement through 2020 for the Navy alone. Aircraft types that are equipped or will be equipped with the system include the UH-1Y, MU-22, CH-35, MH-60R/S, and AH-1Z platforms, as well as MC-130 and AC-130 transport aircraft.
In February 2016, the State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates of AAQ-24 equipment, plus logistics support, at an estimated cost of $225 million.