BAE Systems has been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin to develop enhancements to the F-35 Lightning II’s AN/ASQ-239 electronic warfare/countermeasures system for the planned Block 4 upgrade.
Currently considered to be the most advanced tactical EW system in service today, the Block 4 upgrade will see new capabilities added to the system as part of the JSF program’s Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2) construct. C2D2 is designed to continuously provide software updates and technical refreshes to JSF partner nation and FMS customer systems every 6-12 months in order to keep pace with evolving threats.
“The F-35 will be in service for decades, and we’re committed to providing our pilots with an AN/ASQ-239 capability that affords a decisive and sustained EW operational advantage,” BAE Systems’ VP of F-35 Solutions Deborah Norton said in a statement. “Our robust, modular architecture enables us to efficiently insert new capabilities, supporting the next wave of technical innovation while proactively addressing total product lifecycle sustainability.”
BAE Systems is the sole-source supplier of the EW system in the F-35, and to date has delivered ASQ-239 systems for all operators through low rate initial production (LRIP) lots 1 to 11. The system is fully integrated in both defensive and offensive modes, and its data is fused with radar, electro-optical system and off-board datalinks data through the F-35’s core processor for display to the pilot.
The Block 4 upgrade will be the next major refresh of the F-35 capability, adding additional weapons, a new core processor, new combat system modes, sensor enhancements, improvements to the cockpit display, and sustainment savings across the program from 2022.