BAE Techniques to Produce Upgraded Digital Warfare Suites for F-35

BAE Techniques has obtained a $491 million contract from Lockheed Martin to provide AN/ASQ-239 digital warfare suites for the Block 4 model of the F-35 fighter, the corporate introduced April 3. The award follows on a $493 million contract in December 2022.

In the meantime, Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt, director of the F-35 Joint Program Workplace, stated the F-35 Tech Refresh 3, which can underwrite the brand new EW suite, will likely be prepared in 2024.

BAE’s work will likely be accomplished in help of Lot 17 F-35s, which additionally ship in 2024, though the corporate didn’t say what number of suites the contract covers. The corporate has delivered 1,200 F-35 EW programs up to now, it famous in a launch.

The earlier award coated “growth and maturation of the Block 4 EW baseline,” the corporate stated on the time, whereas the brand new award covers manufacturing.

The improved EW suite is taken into account one of many centerpieces of the Block 4 improve, made potential by the Tech Refresh 3—referred to as TR-3 for brief—enhancements to the aircrafts processor and different upgrades which not too long ago entered flight testing.

Talking with reporters on the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Area convention in Nationwide Harbor, Md., Schmidt stated he feels assured that TR-3 will ship in 2024.

“I stand behind that window,” he stated.

“We have been late in {hardware} growth and supply. The {hardware} now’s there, it’s dependable. … The yield has been a bit robust, however it’s been rather a lot higher in the previous couple of weeks, which makes a distinction as a result of we’re feeding the labs, the flight take a look at plane and the manufacturing line,” Schmidt stated, including that contractors and program officers have been engaged on getting TR-3 into and thru testing “seven days per week since Labor Day weekend.”

The AN/ASQ-239, which works in each the radio-frequency and infrared elements of the spectrum, contains “considerably upgraded {hardware} and software program that improves sensing and signal-processing capabilities,” the corporate stated. The improved sensors will enhance the F-35’s skill to detect “difficult-to-observe threats” in addition to course of extra threats concurrently. The enhancements embody the Digital Channelized Receiver Strategies Generator and Tuner Insertion Program, or DTIP.

The improve additionally contains the Non-Intrusive Digital Warfare Take a look at Answer (NIEWTS) fault isolation and diagnostics functionality. The NIEWST is supposed to cut back upkeep prices by way of extra exact troubleshooting.

On its web site, BAE stated the improved AN/ASQ-239 delivers full performance “in a smaller footprint, decreasing quantity and energy necessities and creating house for future upgrades,” in addition to “improved reliability and maintainability,” with an structure to permit “steady functionality growth,” which permits speedy future upgrades.

“The flexibleness of our lively manufacturing line will enable us to seamlessly transition to the Block 4 design with out skipping a beat,” Chris Rossi, BAE director of F-35 manufacturing, stated in a press launch. The system is designed and manufactured at BAE’s Manchester and Nashua, N.H., amenities.

BAE stated the AN/ASQ-239 “offers F-35s with absolutely built-in offensive and protection EW capabilities, together with long-range risk warning, self-protection, and concentrating on help. It offers 360-degree, full-spectrum situational consciousness and rapid-response capabilities—permitting the F-35 to evade, interact, counter, and jam threats, and attain well-defended targets.”

The corporate additionally builds the F-35’s aft fuselage and automobile administration pc and makes the Eagle Passive Energetic Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS), which can equip the F-15E and F-15EX fighters.