BAE Systems to Protest Navy Jammer Award to Raytheon

BAE Systems Plc, the U.K.’s largest defense contractor, is protesting a U.S. Navy decision to award Raytheon Co. a contract for a new radar-jamming system program that could be worth as much as $7.4 billion.

BAE lodged its challenge yesterday with the Government Accountability Office in Washington, which adjudicates such matters, Brian Roehrkasse, a spokesman for the U.S. arm of London-based BAE Systems, said by e-mail. “We protested the award based on concerns with the Navy’s evaluation of our offering,” he said.

The Navy awarded Raytheon a $279 million contract on July 8 for the Next Generation Jammer, spurning the bid from BAE and one from Northrop Grumman Corp. in tandem with Exelis Inc. The contract funds the “technology demonstration” phase for the advanced anti-radar system.

“The solution we put forward would provide the U.S. Navy with an affordable and effective way to significantly enhance current capabilities and protect our aircraft, ships, and armed forces,” Roehrkasse said.

The jammer is designed to defeat the radar of integrated air-defense systems such as those fielded by Iran, China, North Korea and Syria that detect aircraft and direct surface-to-air missiles. It’s also intended to jam ground communications. The Navy wants the jammer, to equip 135 Boeing Co. EA-18G Growler aircraft, in operation by 2020.

‘Efficient Design’

“Raytheon provided the U.S. Navy with an innovative and efficient design capable of jamming current and future threats,” Rick Yuse, president of the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company’s space and airborne systems business, said in a statement last week.

The Navy’s current rough estimate is that the service will spend as much as $7.4 billion on the initial phase of the jammer program, including $3.1 billion through 2018 for four and half years of additional development, testing and evaluation, according to Pentagon budget documents.

An additional $4.3 billion would be spent on producing 114 jammer pod sets, spare parts, logistics and support for the Navy’s initial requirement.