BAE Systems
F-35 fighter aircraft

Enhanced EW Upgrades AN/ASQ-239 System

Nov. 13, 2019
The F-35 fighter aircraft features an upgraded EW/ECM suite in a fraction of the size of the previous generation.

The fifth generation doesn’t just apply to cellular telephones, as BAE Systems demonstrated with its updates to the AN/ASQ-239 system for the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. The ASQ-239 system provides fully integrated radar warning, targeting support, and self-protection functions as part of its digital electronic-warfare (EW) and electronic-countermeasures (ECM) capabilities. The enhanced version of the system within the aircraft enables it to carry on critical missions in contested airspace while making room for additional hardware on the F-35. Following guidelines for reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP), the new EW system matches the performance of previous EW systems on board the fighter aircraft, with a fraction of the size, weight, and power consumption. This miniaturization of the EW system creates space for other improvements on board the aircraft, including Block IV modernization upgrades.

Major investments by BAE Systems, including a $100 million investment in 80,000 ft.2 of the latest manufacturing space with automated production equipment supported by artificial intelligence (AI) and a boost in the EW workforce by 23%, make the improvements possible with such quick turnaround times: BAE is the first F-35 supplier to insert updated technology into its systems at full production speeds. It delivers 11 systems per month after entering its digital channelized receiver, techniques generation, and advanced tuner technologies into production in 2018.

“We’ve delivered almost 400 EW systems to date, and now we’ve updated the architecture and are manufacturing it at a high rate of production. This technology insertion gives the EW system room to grow and will help the F-35 maintain its dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Deborah Norton, vice president of F-35 Solutions at BAE Systems. “The successful insertion of DTIP was the result of the outstanding focus, dedication, and teamwork of our engineering and production teams working in close coordination with our customer.”

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

Sponsored Recommendations

Ultra-Low Phase Noise MMIC Amplifier, 6 to 18 GHz

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ LVA-6183PN+ is a wideband, ultra-low phase noise MMIC amplifier perfect for use with low noise signal sources and in sensitive transceiver chains. This model operates...

Turnkey 1 kW Energy Source & HPA

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ RFS-2G42G51K0+ is a versatile, new generation amplifier with an integrated signal source, usable in a wide range of industrial, scientific, and medical applications...

SMT Passives to 250W

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ surface-mount stripline couplers and 90° hybrids cover an operational frequency range of DC to 14.5 GHz. Coupler models feature greater than 2 decades of bandwidth...

Transformers in High-Power SiC FET Applications

June 28, 2024
Discover SiC FETs and the Role of Transformers in High-Voltage Applications