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The Global Leader in Next-Generation EW Systems

Defeating threats long before they can be seen provides armed forces in the air, on water, on the ground, and even in space with a critical edge in combat. Delivering that critical edge to support the mission is what electronic warfare (EW) is about, and BAE Systems is the premier mission systems provider – the world leader – in effective and affordable EW technologies.

With more than 60 years of experience, our electronic warfare systems have flown on over 120 platforms and operate on 80% of U.S. military fixed-wing aircraft, over 95% of U.S. Army rotary-wing aircraft, and those of U.S. allies. BAE Systems is the sole EW provider for 5th generation aircraft, and our production of integrated systems for 4th generation aircraft extends platform purpose to enhance aircraft survivability and mission capability for use well into the future.

Cutting-Edge, Next-Generation Technologies

Threats are evolving at a rapid pace, with adversaries attacking in ways never seen before. With broad bandwidth, near-instantaneous detection and industry-leading signal processing, our advanced technologies counter current and emerging threats using all four EW capabilities – Electronic Support (ES), Electronic Protection (EP), Electronic Attack (EA), and Mission Support. With the longest sensor range in the industry, our systems are our customers’ first alert to threats.

BAE Systems’ research and development solves some of the most critical defense and intelligence problems for the U.S. and worldwide in the areas of advanced electronics, autonomy, cyber, electronic warfare, sensors, and signal processing. Each of these technologies is leveraged in BAE Systems’ distributed EW capabilities, as are anti-jam/electronic protection, multispectral EW, cognitive EW, EW demonstration systems, and more.

Capabilities: How Electronic Warfare Works Most Effectively

Part of what makes BAE Systems the leader in Electronic Warfare systems is our commitment to all four EW capabilities, which break out as follows:

  • Electronic Support (ES) follows operational directives to rapidly detect, intercept, identify, and track electromagnetic energy sources to recognize threats, collect targeting and signals intelligence data, and inform future operational planning. That’s why ES threat detection is often considered Electronic Warfare’s intelligence, surveillance, & reconnaissance (ISR) mission, which also includes geolocation and direction-finding capabilities.
  • Electronic Protection (EP) involves safeguarding a country’s personnel, facilities, and equipment against the effects of electronic attack (EA) by hostile forces that could neutralize or destroy its combat capabilities. This threat suppression is achieved using various on-board and off-board systems that employ cyber and multispectral radio frequency/infrared (RF/IR) tools to detect, analyze, and initiate responses to known and potential threats.
  • Electronic Attack (EA) is the strategic use of electromagnetic or directed energy weapons to assault enemy forces’ electronic infrastructure with the intent to degrade or eliminate their combat capabilities. This includes threat analysis and response, as well as countermeasures such as signal jamming, electromagnetic deception (spoofing), lasers, radio frequency (RF) weapons, or any combination of the above EW tools to achieve threat neutralization.
  • Mission Support assures that ES, EP, and EA all have the resources they need to deliver, including operational analysis that measures strengths and weaknesses so adjustments are made as needed, mission planning and management tools, equipment test systems and maintenance aids, and more. Not providing Mission Support undercuts ES, EP, and EA performance, which is unacceptable.

Delivering at every stage of the EW lifecycle

BAE Systems supports all stages of the Electronic Warfare product lifecycle —development, production, and sustainment. Having delivered over 13,500 tactical systems, our hot production line and global support network give customers a rapid fielding advantage. We have invested over $100 million in our production facilities, including three state-of-the-art microwave manufacturing factories. We have also expanded our Advanced Composites Manufacturing facility, investing over $30 million in a 42,000-square-foot expansion of our Electronic Warfare Integrated Manufacturing Center. This integrates our Radio Frequency final, circuit card assembly, and environmental test services for EW programs into one co-located facility. With continued facility investments and insertion of new technology capabilities into our manufacturing processes, BAE Systems is committed to delivering performance and the highest quality products on time to the defense industry.

What is Electronic Warfare?

Electronic Warfare (EW) is the use of electromagnetic or directed energy and integrated cyber capabilities to carry out military and intelligence missions. The more rigorously a military force exploits the full electromagnetic (EM) spectrum – radio waves, microwaves, millimeter waves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet light, and gamma rays – and cyber effects, the more successfully it can pre-empt adversarial threats and respond to attacks electronically.

Double-click on this infographic to see how different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum can be used effectively for electronic support, electronic attack, and electronic protection.

Double-click on this infographic to see how different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum can be used effectively for electronic support, electronic attack, and electronic protection.

Electronic Warfare fast facts

Check out this fact-filled infographic detailing BAE Systems’ worldwide leadership in electronic warfare technology.

Check out this fact-filled infographic detailing BAE Systems’ worldwide leadership in electronic warfare technology.

Frequently asked questions

What are Electronic Warfare Systems?

Electronic Warfare (EW) Systems are any configuration of EW technologies that are designed and built for use on one or more air, ground, sea, or space platforms to execute military or intelligence missions. These configurations usually consist of multiple EW devices and scalable subsystems working in concert, including several that house multiple devices in one self-contained unit. Examples of EW Systems now in use or development include (alphabetically):

See below for Electronic Warfare Systems designed and produced by BAE Systems.

Why is Electronic Warfare important?

At minimum, Electronic Warfare (EW) is useful in controlling the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum to detect, analyze, and track potential threats, providing situational awareness that a country and its allies need to prepare defensive measures, diplomatic insights, and offensive options at every level before conflicts arise. EW enables Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations (JEMSO), which provides our armed forces with the ability to exploit, attack, and protect the EM operation environment.

More advanced EW can also intercept, identify, and decode the data of adversaries. It can even project directed energy to disrupt enemy operations. This changes the battlespace, offering the capacity to reinforce mission success and survivability at every stage, prevent some armed conflicts before they begin, and/or reduce the impact and scope of conflicts underway.

Further, when one party controls the electromagnetic spectrum in an area, their adversaries do not have that control, denying those adversaries the use of accurate navigation, positioning, communications, and other capabilities needed to operate effectively. This denial and disruption of enemies’ use of the EM spectrum is vital to mission success, and a key area of expertise for BAE Systems.

Who uses Electronic Warfare?

Electronic Warfare (EW) systems and support are in active, ongoing use by military and intelligence organizations of most modern, industrialized nations worldwide, either directly or through their allies. This is particularly true for uninterrupted threat detection, identification, tracking, and other defensive purposes, but also extend into offensive capabilities and actions.

The use of EW systems for offensive campaigns is more recent and has largely been the purview of countries with more advanced electronic capabilities, but as systems’ underlying technologies have been adopted more broadly, their costs have fallen, making them more accessible to smaller countries and non-state actors.

Primary developers and users of active EW systems and equipment include the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, China, Russia, Israel, India, Japan, North Korea, France, Germany, and Sweden. A broad range of EW technologies and intelligence-gathering services are also employed by other nations around the world as part of their allied security agreements.

Key EW platforms

Electronic Warfare systems developed by BAE Systems are currently used on the following:

Fixed wing


Rotary wing

  • C-12/RC-12
  • C-23 Sherpa
  • C-26
  • EC-37B
  • EC-130H 
  • F-15
  • F-15SA
  • F-16
  • F-22
  • F-35
  • Harrier
  • Tornado
  • U-2 S
  • UC-35
  • AH-64
  • CH-47/MH-47
  • Lynx
  • Merlin
  • OH-58D
  • Puma
  • Sea King
  • UH-60/HH-60/MH-60


  • Classified platforms
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

History and future of Electronic Warfare

For thousands of years, military strategists have used various tools and techniques to secretly learn enemy plans, trick opponents into tactical errors, disrupt enemy communications, and more. But in 1904, in the Russo-Japanese War, electronic warfare (EW) began its rise as an effective tool for achieving those objectives. That’s when electronic warfare capabilities were first used in battle successfully with the interception of Russian naval wireless signals by HMS Diana.

From that point forward the importance of electronic warfare has escalated in proportion to its growing capabilities, transforming how countries are defended, battles are fought, wars are won, and whether countries even go to war at all. The use of RADAR (radio detection and ranging) came into its own in World War II, accompanied by higher-powered jamming, also known as electronic countermeasures (ECM) and signals intelligence (SIGINT) gathering. In response to those tools then came the creation of RADAR-defeating stealth systems, electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM), and electronic support measures (ESM).

Behind this ongoing brinksmanship have been ever-evolving technologies doing more to utilize the electromagnetic spectrum, and to deny its use by opponents. Beyond those straightforward tactical responses, breakthroughs have also led to satellite-based global positioning systems (GPS), growing use of distantly controlled Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and the use of cyber tools and systems to disrupt adversaries’ military activities while sowing discord between factions. In fact, electronic warfare and cyber warfare overlap so frequently that the future of EW in many countries is certain to involve a full integration of those two powerful capabilities.

EW technology

Evolution of Electronic Warfare

F-35 electronic protection

Digital Electronic Warfare Syste...

DEWS detects, identifies, and defeats advanced threats. 

F-35 Electronic Warfare heroes

Distributed Electronic Warfare


Electronic Support (ES)

  • Rapid signal detection, identification, and tracking
  • Direction finding and geolocation
  • Passive targeting support
  • Missile warning

Electronic Attack (EA)

  • Threat analysis and response
  • Multispectral, RF/threat management
  • Off-board and on-board self-protection
  • IR Threat Analysis Testing

Electronic Protection (EP)

  • Cyber
  • Multispectral, radio-frequency (RF)/infrared countermeasures
  • Off-board and on-board systems
  • Threat Analysis Testing

Mission Support (MS)

  • Operational analysis
  • Mission planning tools and data file generators
  • Mission and battle management
  • Avionics test systems and maintenance aids
  • Sustainment and Performance Based Logistics (PBL)

Related Terms & Topics

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) • C4ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards (CMOSS) • Communications Intelligence (COMMINT) • Cyber-Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) • Cyber Command • Electronic Signature • Electronic Surveillance • Electronic Warfare Aircraft • Electronic Warfare C4ISR • Electronic Warfare Officer • Electronic Warfare Specialist • Electronic Warfare Operational Support (EWOS) • EW • Global Electronic Warfare Market • Infrared (IR), Radar, and Radio Signals • Spectrum Warfare • U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) • Versatile Radio Observation and Direction (VROD) • VROD Modular Adaptive Transmit (VMAX)

Nicole Gable
Nicole Gable
Media Relations
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Electronic Warfare interactive

BAE Systems is the premier mission systems provider of affordable and effective electronic warfare solutions.
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Full Spectrum EW interactive

When deterrence fails and major combat operations are imminent, the Joint Commander receives vital real-time intelligence from BAE Systems advanced collection technologies.
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