Northrop Grumman
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F-16 Suite Serves Modernized EW

June 28, 2021
The ALQ-131Q EW system features wideband open architecture that works well within many different aircraft platforms, including the F-16.

Electronic threats become more difficult to track with more congested electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. To keep pace, modern electronic-warfare (EW) systems must provide the programming power and tracking capability to learn about new signal sources and differentiate them from unknown threats. Proven fighter aircraft such as the F-16 fleet adapt to modern threats with the latest EW systems, such as the ALQ-131C fully modernized digital system (see the figure) from Northrop Grumman. The updated EW system works with the company’s APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to equip F-16 aircraft with new RF/microwave signal sensing and targeting capabilities.

Jim Jensen, technical fellow at Northrop Grumman, says: “The F-16 EW suite has proven pulse-to-pulse interoperability with the APG-83 AESA radar. Our goal was to maximize the performance of both of these critical radio frequency systems to provide enhanced survivability and lethality to the platform. Our extensive testing confirms the success of this approach.”

James Conroy, vice-president for navigation, targeting, and survivability at Northrop Grumman, said:  “Our customers are facing a greater radio-frequency threat to their tactical aircraft than ever before. Our ALQ-131C, and the U.S. F-16 electronic warfare suite, are bringing the latest digital RF survivability technologies to overcome the challenge. The ALQ-131C detects threats even in dense, complex signal environments by means of a high-sensitivity digital receiver, high-speed microprocessors, and digital radio-frequency memory (DRFM) for high-speed signal comparison and generation. The wideband EW system can quickly detect and differentiate threats from other signals in the operating environment and then generate response signals to stop or minimize the threats by coherent or non-coherent signal jamming.

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