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BAE Systems wins F-35 electronic warfare upgrade deal

26 August 2019
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The Pentagon has awarded BAE Systems a contract to upgrade and modernise the electronics warfare suite aboard the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), with an eye towards mitigating evolving threats posed by near-peer competitors such as Russia and China.

The upgrade and modernisation deal with BAE Systems, which was awarded to the company on 21 August, focuses on revamping the company’s AN/ASQ-239 electronic warfare (EW) suite on the Block 4 variant of the F-35. The upgrade work integrates 11 new capabilities into the fifth-generation fighter’s EW suite, building upon the company’s work on the previous Block 1, Block 2, and Block 3 versions of the suite.

At the time of the contract, BAE Systems said it had delivered 500 AN/ASQ-239 EW systems to F-35 programme officials “and is currently matching aircraft production with continual on-time delivery as the programme ramps to full-rate production”, according to a company statement. The majority of the upgrades in the Block 4 iteration will focus on “larger, more complex algorithms” and associated improvements to weight, computing speed, and processing-power requirements, said Todd Caruso, director of business development, F-35 Solutions.

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