The US Air Force has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman for the supply of a new electronic warfare countermeasures suite for its F-16 fleet, the company said in a press release.
The USAF operates more than one thousand F-16s, the largest in number compared to other fighter jets including F-15 and F-22 combined. According to the company, this critical capability will protect pilots from the growing danger of radio frequency-guided weapons by detecting, identifying, and defeating advanced threat systems.
“The electronic warfare suite will significantly increase protection to F-16 operators as they execute their missions in increasingly contested environments,” said Ryan Tintner, vice president, navigation, targeting, and survivability, Northrop Grumman.
“This system draws on the best of our experience from multiple programs to create an effective and affordable solution to keep the Viper relevant throughout its service life.”
The new electronic warfare suite has proven ‘pulse-to-pulse’ operational capability with the new AN/APG-83 SABR AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radars onboard the F-16s as part of the modernization program of the Falcon fleet.
The company said the new EW suite is available both as internal integration or external pods, and that it is also available to international customers friendly to the United States.
The contract was awarded via the System of Systems Consortium, an aerospace industry group started by the US Department of Defense to manage Other Transaction Authority contracts for speedy government funding for research & development or prototype work.
In the 21st century battlefield, EW systems have become an imperative and integral part of any military equipment owing to the increasing technology-reliant battlefields. Having an EW countermeasures suite can greatly increase the survivability of the aircraft by jamming hostile electronic signals like radars or missile seekers.
This F-16 system is part of a mature product line of electronic warfare capabilities that can be adapted to protect virtually any platform or mission requirement. It shares a common technology baseline with the AC/MC-130J Radio Frequency Countermeasures Program and AN/APR-39 radar warning receivers, the company informed.