Saab (Stand N2-230) has unveiled details of a future fast jet airborne electronic attack (AEA) capability concept combining a high-power escort jamming pod, long-range air-launched decoys, and advanced electronic warfare (EW) operator control and fusion techniques.
Forming part of an internal studies package intended to identify technologies and inform investment decisions for a next-generation combat air capability, the future EW concept − given the umbrella name AREXIS − has already been briefed to the Swedish Air Force, the Defence Materiel Administration and the Defence Research Agency.
Saab sees the concept as being applicable to the existing JAS 39 Gripen line as well as future manned platforms.
Saab in 2013 began its in-house study to characterise the future air operating environment so as to inform key requirements and technologies for combat aircraft in the 2035-2040 period. One key conclusion was the requirement for a credible AEA capability, supporting suppression of enemy air defences/destruction of enemy air defences, to improve aircraft survivability and enable penetration of sophisticated air defences.
Central to Saab’s thinking is the development of a self-contained (in cooling and power) electronic attack (EA) pod suitable for two-seat variants of the JAS 39 Gripen or other twin-crew fighter aircraft. EA pod concept studies and design, including the build of engineering mock-ups, have been founded on the reuse of technology building blocks previously developed for the Gripen E’s internal self-protection EW suite. The pod design developed by Saab incorporates VHF and UHF antennas in fin surfaces, with L-band and S-band active electronically scanned array antennas, based on gallium nitride technology, fitted front and rear.
The second element of the triad is a miniature air-launched decoy to perform both distraction and stand-in jamming. Saab has conceptualised a small, long-range, long-endurance decoy vehicle with an EW payload that can locate and identify threats and targets, and distract enemy air defence resources. The decoy will support an attack on a target defended by surface-to- air missile systems by acting as a stand-in jammer.
The third piece of the new concept is the development of a back-seat electronic warfare officer (EWO) station embodying advanced sensor data fusion and decision support techniques.
Saab has already prototyped the EWO human machine interface in the simulator, and has shown it to the Swedish Air Force.