The Block 4 electronic warfare (EW) systems, developed by BAE Systems for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, have received $491 million in contracts. The systems will provide enhanced situational awareness, increased survivability, and the ability to counter modern threats. With adaptable hardware and incremental software updates, the Block 4 EW systems are upgradable to address evolving threats, reducing engineering and sustainment costs for the US Department of Defense and its allies.
Lisa Aucoin, vice president of F-35 Solutions at BAE Systems, said, “The Block 4 EW system will offer greater situational awareness, enhanced survivability and increased capabilities to counter modern threats, and is upgradable to address evolving threats. Our adaptable EW system will help warfighters execute missions today and into the future.”
The AN/ASQ-239 system, designed and manufactured at BAE Systems’ facilities in Manchester, New Hampshire, and Nashua, New Hampshire, provides F-35s with fully integrated offensive and defensive EW capabilities. The system provides 360-degree, full-spectrum situational awareness and rapid-response capabilities—allowing the F-35 to evade, engage, counter, and jam threats, and reach well-defended targets.
Chris Rossi, director of F-35 production at BAE Systems, said, “Our modern facilities allow us to manufacture complex, intricate electronics at scale to deliver an affordable EW capability. The flexibility of our active production line will allow us to seamlessly transition to the Block 4 design without skipping a beat.”
The advanced Block 4 EW systems will play a critical role in enabling F-35s to operate in contested and congested environments, where the aircraft’s stealth and electronic warfare capabilities are essential to mission success. The systems will help to ensure the F-35’s dominance in modern air combat scenarios.
BAE Systems is a leader in electronic warfare, with its strength lying in its people—a team of knowledgeable, intelligent, and resourceful engineers, project managers, and skilled workers committed to protecting those who protect us. As the company advances next-generation EW technology, it applies its engineering and production expertise as a force multiplier, maximizing its customers’ investments in EW.
The Block 4 systems will include significantly upgraded hardware and software that improves sensing and signal-processing capabilities. New, high-performance sensors will boost the system’s ability to detect difficult-to-observe threats and more threats simultaneously.
The contracts received by BAE Systems will accelerate the delivery of advanced EW capabilities to warfighters by combining adaptable hardware and incremental software updates. The company has delivered 1,200 F-35 EW systems to date and is set to deliver even more with the production of the advanced Block 4 EW systems.
In conclusion, the advanced Block 4 EW systems will be a game-changer for the F-35 Lightning II fighter jets. With enhanced situational awareness, increased survivability, and the ability to counter modern threats, these systems will enable the F-35s to operate in contested and congested environments, ensuring their dominance in modern air combat scenarios. BAE Systems has a proven track record in electronic warfare, and its strength lies in its people, who are committed to protecting those who protect us. With these contracts, BAE Systems will continue to deliver advanced EW capabilities to warfighters, helping them execute their missions today and into the future.