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BAE wins deal to replace USAF F-15 electronic warfare suite

BAE Systems will replace an aging Northrop Grumman electronic warfare suite on hundreds of US Air Force Boeing F-15s, Boeing announced on 1 October.

The selection adds to BAE’s sweep of recent electronic warfare contracts for F-15s, beginning with Saudi Arabia’s selection of the company’s digital electronic warfare system (DEWS) for the new F-15SA fleet and the same as a retrofit on the existing F-15S fleet.

The USAF, meanwhile, launched the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) to replace the ALQ-135 tactical electronic warfare suite on its fleet of F-15.

Due to delays developing and fielding the Lockheed Martin F-35, the USAF has extended the service life of the F-15 fleet beyond 2040. As a result, the service is upgrading the twin-engined fighters with new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, new electronic warfare sensors and processors and new cockpit displays to present all the new data being collected to the pilot.

“EPAWSS will ensure the F-15 is relevant and dominant through 2040 and beyond,” says Mike Gibbons, Boeing’s vice-president of F-15 programmes.

Boeing selected BAE over a rival bid from Northrop, which had offered technologies derived from the Electronic Attack Pod Upgrade Programme (EA PUP) for the Lockheed Martin C-130 and A-10.

By contrast, BAE could draw on its recent experience developing electronic warfare suites for the USAF’s latest, fifth-generation fighters, including the ALR-94 for the Lockheed F-22 and the ASQ-239 Barracuda for the F-35.

Such systems allow modern fighter pilots to detect and engage or avoid hostile radar system on the ground and in the air. The EPAWSS also includes an ability to detect and circumvent detection from infrared-based sensors, as well, according to USAF budget documents.

“This selection builds on our extensive electronic warfare legacy, a history we were able to leverage to develop an executable, affordable, and low-risk solution for the F-15 fleet,” says Brian Walters, vice-president and general manager of Electronic Combat Solutions at BAE Systems.

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