BAE Systems AN/ASQ-239 Improves Capacity for Critical Missions in Contested Airspace
On 28 February BAE Systems announced a critical programme milestone with the successful insertion of new technology into its electronic warfare (EW) systems for the global F-35 LIGHTNING II fleet.
Upgrades to the AN/ASQ-239 EW system position it to meet future capability requirements and improve pilots’ ability to conduct critical missions in contested airspace. The improved system delivers the world-class functionality of its predecessor in a smaller footprint, reducing volume and power requirements – creating space for Block IV modernisation upgrades. The system update also resolves issues with manufacturing obsolescence that would have otherwise required costly redesign work.
The company’s capacity expansion strategy – including a $100 million investment in 80,000 sq ft of state-of-the-art manufacturing space, process automation and the growth of its highly skilled electronic warfare workforce by over 23% – enabled BAE Systems to become the first F-35 supplier to insert updated technology into its systems at full production speeds – delivering 11 systems monthly and ramping production to match aircraft production. The Digital Channelized Receiver/Techniques Generator and Tuner Insertion Program (DTIP) technology was introduced into BAE Systems’ manufacturing process in 2018, with the first deliveries starting in July. The team is consistently providing 11 shipsets per month, enabling the company to continue on-time delivery to its customer.
“We’ve delivered almost 400 EW systems to date, and now we’ve updated the architecture and are manufacturing it at a high rate of production. This technology insertion gives the EW system room to grow, and will help the F-35 maintain its dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum,” commented BAE Systems’ VP of F-35 Solutions, Deborah Norton.
The advanced F-35 EW system is a proven digital electronic warfare/countermeasures suite that provides pilots with real-time battlespace situational awareness and rapid-response capabilities. The ASQ-239 system provides fully integrated radar warning, targeting support and self-protection capabilities to engage, counter, jam, or evade threats to improve survivability and mission effectiveness. The system builds on BAE Systems’ 60-plus years of EW experience and legacy of providing 13,500 tactical systems for more than 80 different platforms, including F-22, F-16, F-15, B-1, B-2, and classified platforms.