skip to main content

Navy League 2023: BAE Systems to produce new F-35 EW system variant

Four F-35Cs (F-35C / F-35) performed a flyby as they arrived at NAS Lemoore marking their historic arrival to join VFA-125 at the US Navy base. (Lockheed Martin)

BAE Systems has been awarded a USD491 million production deal to build the newest electronic warfare (EW) system variant for the F-35 Lighting II fighter, according to a company statement.

The Block 4 variant of the AN/ASQ-239 EW system for the F-35 “will include significantly upgraded hardware and software that improve sensing and signal-processing capabilities”, company officials said in a 3 April statement released during the annual Navy League's Sea-Air-Space conference in National Harbor, Maryland. The new Block 4 variant will also integrate a series of new “high-performance sensors” designed to detect low-observable threat signatures, as well as sense a larger number of air and ground threats simultaneously, according to the statement.

F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin awarded the Block 4 production contract to BAE Systems, with plans to have the new EW suite integrated into the F-35 jets slated to be built as part of Production Lot 17. BAE Systems began initial work on the Block 4 EW system as part of the development and upgrade deal awarded to the company in August 2019.

The current capability suite of the AN/ASQ-239 consists of “fully integrated offensive and defence EW capabilities, including long-range threat warning, self-protection, and targeting support”, BAE Systems' officials said in the 3 April statement.

The company's early focus on the Block 4 development was driven by integrating “larger, more complex algorithms”, and associated improvements to weight, computing speed, and processing power requirements into the current AN/ASQ-239, Todd Caruso, director of business development, F-35 Solutions at BAE Systems said on 21 August 2019.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...