On Friday, the Department of Defense awarded a $14.1 million contract to defense contractor Northrop Grumman's Space and Mission Systems subsidiary, exercising an option to extend a contract originally awarded to the contractor back in October 2009 .

The contract in question is a firm-fixed-price contract to support the development of a system to jam radio signals that are used to trigger improvised explosive devices (IEDs). This program is generally known by the decidedly unmilitary, preppy acronym "JCREW" -- which stands for "Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) Electronic Warfare (JCREW)." It's designed to develop anti-IED technologies to protect both mounted and dismounted troops, their vehicles, and also permanent structures, and was originally conceived -- and awarded to Northrop as the developer -- in a contract awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), back in January 2008 .

Historically, several firms have been involved in the JCREW effort, with privately-held defense contractor Sierra Nevada and publicly-held ITT (NYSE:ITT) -- specifically, an ITT division spun off in 2011 as Exelis (UNKNOWN:XLS.DL) -- winning the bulk of the contracts.

At five years and counting, however, Northrop is arguably the longest-serving member of the coalition of companies working to develop a solution to radio-controlled IEDs. Northrop shares closed down 0.5% at the end of Friday trading, at $67.07, ahead of the Pentagon's announcement.


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