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BAE Boosts F-35’s EW Capabilities

The fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II is about to receive new electronic-warfare enhancements from BAE Systems.

Already the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft, the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II is about to receive new capabilities for its on-board electronic equipment. The enhancements come courtesy of a Block 4 Modernization contract award from Lockheed Martin to BAE Systems. Under the contract, BAE will enhance the offensive and defensive capabilities of the F-35’s AN/ASQ-239 Electronic-Warfare/Countermeasures (EW/CM) systems to address emerging threats.

“The F-35 will be in service for decades, and we’re committed to providing our pilots with an AN/ASQ-239 capability that affords a decisive and sustained EW operational advantage,” said Deborah Norton, vice president of F-35 Solutions at BAE Systems. “Our robust, modular architecture enables us to efficiently insert new capabilities, supporting the next wave of technical innovation while proactively addressing total product lifecycle sustainability.”

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The fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II is about to receive new EW capabilities from BAE Systems. (Courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

BAE Systems has been the source for EW systems for the F-35 (see figure) for the past 14 years—it’s designed and developed the Block 1, Block 2, and Block 3 configurations. The Block 4 program is a multiyear, multiple-contract design-and-development effort to add 11 new capabilities to F-35 Lightning EW suites.

The enhancements will be made as part of continuous capability development and delivery (C2D2) efforts, in which capabilities are developed and integrated in six-to-twelve-month intervals to keep pace with evolving threats. BAE has delivered more than 500 F-35 AN/ASQ-239 EW/CM systems, bringing more than 60 years of EW technology development and meeting on-time delivery demands with modern production methods and technologies.

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