Electronic Warfare (EW) has played a critical role in protecting our armed forces since the beginning of WWII. The technology made history when the United States used the U-2 to breach the U.S.S.R.’s “Iron Curtain,” providing intelligence on the Soviet Union. The U-2’s missions became threatened by surface-to-air missiles. With this emerging threat, BAE Systems in New Hampshire, then known as Sanders Associates, designed and fielded an electronic countermeasure system to protect the platform.
From then to now, our company has acquired more than 60 years of experience in EW, to become the world leader in this technology. Our engineers have developed, produced, and sustained a wide range of EW systems and supporting technologies, with continued focus on core systems for the world’s most advanced military platforms – from the F-35 lightning II stealth fighter and the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber to the EC-130H Compass Call, the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), and classified programs. Our work has even been recognized in The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, as part of its defense-military avionics collection.
With several major EW program wins over the past few years, on the scale of development to fielded systems – where are they now?
- In 2017, we started delivering Digital Electronic Warfare System (DEWS) technology to our first international customer, helping them modernize their F-15 fighter fleets. At the end of the year, we also received a $311 million contract to provide DEWS to support the sale of a new aircraft for another international customer.
- Following our selection by Boeing in 2015 to develop and manufacture the next-generation digital electronic warfare system for the U.S. Air Force’s Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS), we are executing the $161 million engineering and manufacturing development contract. Last year, the program conducted a successful critical design review. It was an important step forward in providing advanced aircraft protection and significantly improved situational awareness for the U.S. fleet of F-15 C/E fighters. We’ll deliver the first system to Boeing this year.
- We continue to deliver our advanced AN/ASQ-239 system for F-35 customers including the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, and several international countries. Low-Rate Initial Production hardware deliveries for the program have begun for lots 10 and 11 and we have received initial lot 12 funding. The program has delivered almost 350 EW suites to date. In addition to production milestones, the company is working with Lockheed Martin on a Performance Based Logistics contract, which will provide EW material availability support for the fighter.
- For over a decade, we’ve provided full lifecycle support as the prime mission system integrator for the U.S. Air Force’s EC-130H Compass Call stand-off electronic attack platform. We are executing to cross-deck the mission electronics onto a new Gulfstream G550 business jet for the Air Force, with the first two aircraft fielded in 2023. BAE Systems will continue to sustain the existing EC-130H electronics as we develop, manufacture, procure, integrate, and sustain the electronics.
- Production of our sensor technology for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile has commenced following a $40 million order from Lockheed Martin. We provided the sensor technology that supported a successful launch of the missile, demonstrating its ability to address the U.S. Navy’s requirement for versatile, multi-platform precision munitions that enable distributed operations.
- In 2017, we increased production capacity to ramp up deliveries, including the addition of 80,000 square feet of state-of-the-art manufacturing space as part of a $100 million renovation investment. Over the next five years, we will also be hiring 300 to 500 full-time manufacturing employees.
As new threats quickly evolve and our customers face increasingly contested environments, it is our mission to deliver advanced EW solutions to our nation’s most critical platforms. The above programs continue our legacy as the sole provider for fifth generation aircraft and emphasize our commitment to integrated systems for fourth generation aircraft, which extend platform purpose, enhance aircraft survivability, and improve mission capability.
Looking forward, our research and development business is solving future EW problems in the areas of distributed EW, anti-jam/electronic protection, multispectral EW, cognitive EW, and EW demonstration systems to meet our warfighters’ most urgent operational needs.