Defense contractor L3Harris aims to complete development of its advanced Viper Shield electronic warfare (EW) system for F-16 fighter aircraft by late 2025. The new digital suite will deliver transformational situational awareness and self-protection capabilities to international F-16 operators.
Enhanced Threat Detection
L3Harris’ Viper Shield introduces fully digital radar warning receiver technology eliminating limitations with legacy analog systems.
The digital architecture enables simultaneous detection and identification of multiple inbound radar threats rather than just a single emitter. This proves invaluable against saturation attacks.
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Key Program Details
Under contract, L3Harris will manufacture 166 Viper Shield systems for new production Block 70/72 F-16s headed to five unnamed international allies.
On track for culminating milestones, the company will soon demonstrate initial capabilities against modern threat profiles using production-representative prototypes.
Optimized Sensor Fusion
Importantly, the new warning receiver suite was designed for tight integration with Northrop Grumman’s advanced electronically scanned array (AESA) radar equipping F-16s.
By combining powerful AESA search/track radar with omnidirectional digital radar warning sensing, the Block 70/72 achieves unmatched battlespace awareness.
Supporting Critical Upgrades
The Viper Shield also modernizes electronic warfare Self-protection systems, enabling automatic countermeasure deployment against anti-aircraft threats detected.
L3Harris currently supports Taiwanese and Bahraini requirements to upgrade existing F-16 fleets with the new digital EW technologies.
Future Growth Trajectory
As Lockheed Martin looks to expand F-16 manufacturing to fulfill new production and foreign upgrade demand, L3Harris is preparing to scale up Viper Shield output accordingly.
While focused on the F-16, the company also seeks to integrate the sensor suite onto other aircraft types to expand its portfolio.
With capabilities optimized against modern threats, L3Harris’ Viper Shield EW solution will significantly enhance situation awareness, survivability, and lethality for F-16 operators globally. The system epitomizes continual capability enhancement of the proven fighter design.