N-G Gears Up for Improved Electronic Warfare Aircraft Production
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Bethpage, NY received an $8.4 million firm-fixed-price order against a previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00019-00-G-0425) for spares associated with EA-6B Prowler improved capability aircraft low-rate-initial production (LRIP).
As the U.S. Navy’s March 10, 2005 statement to Congress re: FY 2006 acquisition priorities (PDF document) noted:
“The Fiscal Year 2006 Budget request of $ 120.6M reflects the total budget for wing center section modifications and procurement of three Improved Capability (ICAP) III systems. The aging EA-6B has been in ever-increasing demand as DoD’s only tactical radar jamming aircraft that also engages in communications jamming and information operations. EA-6B operational tempo has continued at extremely high levels during the past year. Safety considerations, due to wing center section and outer wing panel fatigue, have reduced aircraft available to the fleet from 95 to 85. Aircraft inventory is projected to return to above 95 by the end of Fiscal Year 2005. Program priorities are current readiness and successful fleet introduction of the ICAP III selective reactive jamming system.”
In recent years, EA-6B Prowlers have been used over Iraq for everything from escorting strike aircraft against heavily defended targets during the opening days of the war, to disrupting enemy IED attacks by jamming all radio signals in an area. See David Axe’s January 30, 2006 report from Al Asad air base, Iraq for an in-person report.
Work on this particular contract order will be performed in Baltimore, Md. (82%), Bethpage, N.Y. (16%); St. Augustine, Fla. (1.7%); and Melbourne, Fla. (0.3%), and is expected to be completed in October 2006. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.