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.”
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.