BAE Systems has received a US$349m Block 4 modernisation contract award from Lockheed Martin to enhance the offensive and defensive electronic warfare (EW) capabilities of the F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighter. Under the contract, BAE Systems will upgrade its AN/ASQ-239 electronic warfare/countermeasures (EW/CM) system to address emerging threats and maintain US and allied warfighters’ ability to safely conduct missions in contested airspace.
“The F-35 will be in service for decades, and we’re committed to providing our pilots with an AN/ASQ-239 capability that affords a decisive and sustained EW operational advantage,” said Deborah Norton, VP of F-35 Solutions at BAE Systems. “Our robust, modular architecture enables us to efficiently insert new capabilities, supporting the next wave of technical innovation while proactively addressing total product lifecycle sustainability.”
BAE Systems has been the EW supplier for the F-35 program for the past 14 years, designing and developing the Block 1, Block 2, and Block 3 configurations, and delivering production units for each of the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lots 1-11. The Block 4 programme is a multi-year, multi-contract design and development effort that will add 11 new capabilities to the EW system. These improvements will be made as part of the new F-35 agile contracting and development paradigm called Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2). The C2D2 construct is one in which capabilities are continuously being developed and fielded in six to 12-month intervals, providing warfighters with incremental enhancements to keep pace with the evolving threats.
BAE Systems has delivered more than 500 F-35 AN/ASQ-239 EW/CM ship-sets to date, and says it is currently matching aircraft production with continual on-time delivery as the programme ramps to full-rate production.