Officials have declined to discuss the electronic warfare and cyber capabilities of the F-35, until now.
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.