BAE to Produce Upgraded EW Suites for F-35 Block 4

Lockheed Martin has awarded BAE Systems a $491 million contract to produce AN/ASQ-239 electronic warfare (EW) countermeasure systems for the Block 4 version of the F-35 fighter.

BAE will produce the advanced suites for the future Lot 17 F-35s, with production starting in mid-2024 through 2025.

The company didn’t reveal how many suites the contract covers. Lockheed signed an agreement in December 2022 to produce up to 126 aircraft for the Lot 17.

Block 4 Upgrades

The EW suite is the heart of the Block 4 upgrades, delivered through the Technology Refresh-3 (TR-3). It includes the modernization of the “core processor, memory unit, panoramic cockpit display system, and associated avionics,” according to The War Zone.

The TR-3 is expected to provide 25 times more computing power than the aircraft’s existing TR-2, essential for the Block 4 upgrades.

Suite’s Features

The suite’s upgraded hardware and software improve its sensing and signal-processing capabilities, helping it detect “difficult-to-observe threats and more threats simultaneously,” BAE wrote.

The AN/ASQ-239 equips the fighters with “fully integrated offensive and defense EW capabilities, including long-range threat warning, self-protection, and targeting support.”

Furthermore, the suite provides 360-degree aerial view of the battlespace, helping provide the pilot maximum situational awareness.

Reduces ‘Sustainment Costs’

“The Block 4 EW system will offer greater situational awareness, enhanced survivability and increased capabilities to counter modern threats, and is upgradable to address evolving threats,” BAE’s F-35 Solutions vice president Lisa Aucoin said.

“Our adaptable EW system will help warfighters execute missions today and into the future, and will reduce engineering and sustainment costs for the US Department of Defense and its allies.”

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