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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Northrop protests Navy's selection of L3Harris for $500M Navy jammer program

A protest battle is brewing over a highly classified contract for a next generation jammer for the Navy that could be worth billions.

Northrop Grumman and L3Harris Technologies were in a phased competition, through which the Navy picked L3Harris for the $500 million contract.

The system is envisioned as a pod to sit under the wing of the EA-18G Growler aircraft and allows the craft to conduct electronic warfare operations.

The Navy says it needs the jammer to address growing and rapidly-evolving threats in the airborne electronic attack mission area. The capabilities are intended for the mid-band, low band and high band frequency ranges.

Northrop Grumman and L3Harris (through the predecessor company L3 Technologies) were picked to each build a demonstration model for the low-band capabilities. The Navy has picked L3Harris model to move forward.

That is what triggered Northrop's protest at the Government Accountability Office.

Details of the contract are classified, so it isn’t clear what Northrop is claiming other than the Navy should have picked them over L3Harris.

Northrop has technically filed two protests. I'm told they are trying to separate the classified portions from the unclassified portions. We’ll have to watch how this one advances to see if we learn anything else.

Northrop’s protest was filed Feb. 1 and a supplemental protest was filed March 1. A GAO decision is due May 12.

The contract is a priority for both companies as indicated by L3Harris Chief Operating Officer Chris Kubasik during an Jan. 29 earnings call, which took place before the Northrop protests were filed.

Kubasik said the initial award is worth about $500 million, but added the follow-on opportunities could be worth up to $4 billion combined.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 03, 2021 at 11:27 AM

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