Northrop Grumman has announced that the latest set of electronic warfare upgrades for the F16 fighter, named AN/ALQ-257 Integrated Viper Electronic Warfare Suite (IVEWS), have successfully passed simulation testing in a U.S. Air Force emulator. According to the company, these upgrades have exceeded the benchmark standards set through Emulator Testing.
According to Northrop Grumman, the new electronic warfare system will enable the F-16 to counter modern radio frequency threats and detect and defeat advanced sensors and weapons that its older systems cannot. The company has reported that the Integrated Viper Electronic Warfare Suite (IVEWS) features broadband power amplifiers and adaptive countermeasure modulations, making it more efficient and effective than previous systems.
Additionally, IVEWS is capable of responding quickly while covering an extended range of frequencies and detecting threats in all directions. The system has a modular open-systems design, allowing for flexibility and adaptability.
James Conroy, Northrop Grumman’s Vice President for Navigation, Targeting and Survivability, stated that the IVEWS is crucial in countering the growing number of advanced radio frequency threats. He added that the successful evaluation of the system under challenging conditions is a significant step in the process of deploying the suite. As advanced threats continue to evolve, the protection provided by IVEWS will be essential for the F-16 fighter’s electronic warfare capabilities.
In 2019, the United States Air Force selected Northrop Grumman, along with other companies, to develop a prototype for the new electronic warfare system for the F-16 fighter.
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In January 2021, the United States Air Force selected Northrop Grumman as the sole contractor to complete the development of the electronic warfare system for the F-16 fighter. At the time, Northrop announced that its new system would be compatible with the AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar, which the company also produces for the jet. In May 2022, Northrop received an additional contract from the Air Force to prepare the IVEWS for developmental testing and full hardware qualification.
The cost of developing IVEWS for the Air Force has not been disclosed, as Defense News has reported. Northrop Grumman revealed that during the testing phase, simulated air defense radar pulses were injected into the electronic warfare system to verify its ability to recognize and counter advanced threats. The company conducted the testing using the Air Force’s Laboratory Intelligence Validated Emulator, which offers realistic testing environments for electronic warfare technology. Northrop noted that this was the first time the emulator had been used to test IVEWS’ ultra-wideband architecture.
Furthermore, upgrading F16 electronic warfare through emulator testing is an exciting advancement in military technology. By utilizing this cutting-edge method, we can enhance the capabilities of our aircraft and stay ahead of our adversaries. With continued research and innovation, the future of electronic warfare looks brighter than ever before.