By Richard Scott
CAES (Arlington, VA) has been awarded a sole-source contract by the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) for the initial pre-production phase of the AN/ALQ-99 Low Band Consolidation (LBC) transmitter program.
A modification of the AN/ALQ-99 Low Band Transmitter (LBT) that will utilize the existing AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System (TJS) Band 4 antenna, the LBC is a direct form and fit replacement of the LBT in the existing AN/ALQ-99 low band pod. The AN/ALQ-99 TJS confers US Navy and Royal Australian Air Force EA-18G Growler aircraft with an airborne electronic attack capability to jam adversary radar and communications as a contributor to the suppression of enemy air defenses.
Originally developed as a reliability and maintenance upgrade, the current LBT replaced AN/ALQ-99 TJS Bands 1, 2, and 2/3 to expand the capability to effectively jam hostile, low frequency radar and communications signals in a tactical environment. The LBC requirement has arisen in order to address shortfalls in meeting Band 4 fleet readiness (with increases in the EA-18G inventory having increased Band 4 transmitter requirements beyond the current inventory level).
The LBC program implements an engineering change proposal (ECP) that will expand the current LBT frequency coverage to include Band 4. This ECP does not increase or change the overall power and capability of the ALQ-99 TJS, but rather is intended to address LBT and Band 4 diminishing manufacturing/material shortages and mitigate existing Band 4 inventory shortages.
The US Navy plans to buy up to 30 LBC transmitters as a modification to the current LBT. According to NAVAIR, it is anticipated this LBC transmitter procurement will be awarded in July 2023 and will include a base contract plus two options: deliveries are expected to commence in the third quarter of FY 2025.