BAE Systems have delivered the 250th electronic warfare suite for the F-35 Lightning.

The EW suite protects the F-35 with advanced technology for next-generation missions to counter current and emerging threats.

Tom Arseneault, president of BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems sector said:

“The F-35 is a critical platform for our nation’s defence, and this delivery is a significant milestone for the entire programme. Providing this extraordinary technology builds on our more than 60-year electronic warfare legacy. And more importantly, it provides our warfighters with the critical edge they need to successfully complete their mission and return home safely.”

Designed and manufactured by BAE Systems, the suite is equipped with offensive and defensive options for both the pilot and aircraft.

BAE say it provides fully integrated radar warning, targeting support, and self-protection to detect and defeat surface and airborne threats, providing F-35 pilots with maximum situational awareness.

General Hawk Carlisle discussed these capabilities at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford recently and said the F-35’s capabilities are “an order of magnitude better than anything we’ve had in the past.”

The F-35s advanced stealth and built-in electronic warfare capabilities enable unique battlefield access without the need for dedicated electronic attack aircraft support.

According to Lockheed Martin, advanced electronic warfare capabilities enable the F-35 to locate and track enemy forces, jam radio frequencies and disrupt attacks with unparalleled precision. All three variants of the F-35 carry active, electronically scanned array radars with sophisticated electronic attack capabilities, including false targets, network attack, advanced jamming and algorithm-packed data streams.

This system allows the F-35 to “reach well-defended targets and suppress enemy radars” that threaten the F-35.

In addition, the ASQ-239 system provides fully integrated radar warning, targeting support, and self-protection, to detect and defeat surface and airborne threats.

While F-35 is capable of stand-off jamming for other aircraft — providing 10 times the effective radiated power of any legacy fighter — F-35s can also operate in closer proximity to the threat (‘stand-in’) to provide jamming power many multiples that of any legacy fighter.

Gen. Mike Hostage, Air Combat Command, US Air Force said:

“What we’ve done with the 5th Generation aircraft is the computer takes all those sensory inputs, fuses it into information. The pilot sees a beautiful God’s eye view of what’s going on. It’s a stunning amount of information.”

BAE’s website claims:

“Always active, AN/ASQ-239 provides all-aspect, broadband protection, allowing the F-35 to reach well-defended targets and suppress enemy radars. The system stands alone in its ability to operate in signal-dense environments, providing the aircraft with radio-frequency and infrared countermeasures, and rapid response capabilities.”

Electronic warfare is not something new for BAE Systems with the F-22 and B-2 both relying on BAE capabilities.

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