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Upgrade for Electronic-Attack Pods: The Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $52.8 million contract to upgrade the service's ALQ-131 electronic-attack pods, according to the company's April 26 release. The contract covers 27 months of engineering and manufacturing development; it has a potential value of $480 million when factoring the low-rate initial production phase and five production options, said company officials. "The Northrop Grumman team designed an innovative solution that provides our US Air Force pilots with the electronic-warfare protection they need while flying combat operations," said Tom Vice, president of Northrop Grumman Technical Services. Digital receiver and exciter technology included in the upgrade "makes a fourth generation aircraft survivable in a fifth generation world," said Jeff Palombo, general manager of Northrop Grumman's Land and Self Protection Systems Division. A-10s, C-130s, F-15s, and F-16s can carry the ALQ-131. (See also One Pod Fits All.)