C4iSR: Air

BAE Systems to undertake ‘Project Heisenberg’ of upgraded F-35 EW suite

28 January 2019

Project Heisenberg developmental work for the F-35 will be flown aboard the CATBird surrogate test aircraft. Source: Lockheed Martin

The programme office for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will award BAE Systems a sole-source contract to conduct flights trials of the aircraft's future electronic warfare (EW) and countermeasures suite.

The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) disclosed on 25 January that BAE Systems will conduct tests of a modified version of its AN/ASQ-239A suite aboard the CATBird surrogate test aircraft. This demonstration of elements of the EW/countermeasures suite on the modified Boeing 737 airliner known as the Cooperative Avionics Test Bed (CATBird) is referred to as Project Heisenberg.

"This effort provides risk reduction and early assessment of C2D2 [Continuous Capability Development and Delivery]/Block 4 EW capabilities, along with evaluation of the associated mission data files," NAVAIR said, adding, "The scope of work required for this effort consists of proposing, developing, integrating, deploying, and operating a modified AN/ASQ-239A suite in a receive-only flight-test/demonstration configuration."

This contract supports the multiple variants of the F-35, with an award anticipated for the third quarter of fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019).

As noted by BAE Systems, the AN/ASQ-239 system protects the F-35 against current and emerging threats. "Equipped with offensive and defensive electronic warfare options for the pilot and aircraft, the suite provides fully integrated radar warning, targeting support, and self-protection, to detect and defeat surface and airborne threats."

The company added, "The system provides the pilot with maximum situational awareness, helping to identify, monitor, analyse, and respond to potential threats. Advanced avionics and sensors provide a real-time, 360° view of the battlespace, helping to maximise detection ranges and provide the pilot with options to evade, engage, counter, or jam threats.

"Always active, AN/ASQ-239 provides all-aspect, broadband protection, allowing the F-35 to reach well-defended targets and suppress enemy radars.

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