L3Harris takes another stride forward with its electronic warfare offerings for F-16 Fighting Falcon series combat aircraft.
The company produces the AN/ALQ-211(V) Integrated Self-Defence System (ISDS) series which equips various marques of F-16. The AN/ALQ-211’s Electronic Support Measure (ESM) can reportedly detect continuous wave and pulse Doppler radars on frequencies of two gigahertz/GHz to 18GHz, possibly jamming such threats. The system’s architecture also includes a radar warning receiver and electronic countermeasure. It can be linked to an aircraft’s countermeasures dispenser to launch chaff and flare cartridges.
AN/ALQ-211(V) deliveries commenced in 1993 with service entry two years later. The ensemble is available in two flavours: The internally-mounted AN/ALQ-211(V)4 and the podded AN/ALQ-211(V)9. A one-off version, the AN/ALQ-211(V)8 is internally mounted which Armada records note is flown on a single Indian Air Force Embraer ERJ-135 turbofan transport used by dignitaries. Our records say that sales of the AN/ALQ-211 have been made to the air forces of Chile, Oman, Pakistan, Poland and Turkey equipping F-16A/B jets which use the AN/ALQ-211(V)9 and F-16C/Ds using the AN/ALQ-211(V)4.
The AN/ALQ-254(V) ISDS takes things a step further. This is intended for the F-16V Block-70/72. The F-16V is the latest incarnation of the venerable Viper. Among its improvements vis-à-vis legacy marques is the addition of Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-83 X-band (8.5GHz to 10.68GHz) Scalable Agile Beam Radar.
Ted Damaskinos, L3Harris’ vice president and general manager for electronic defence solutions told Armada that the Viper Shield will be installed internally on Block-70/72 jets. It will be available for new build aircraft but can be retrofitted to existing models. He said that the programme is currently in the design phase and heading towards production, expected in circa 2023.
Compared to legacy L3Harris F-16 ISDSs the Viper Shield “has a smaller form factor and reduced weight.” This is thanks to the use of fewer components than used in its predecessors. Significant use of commercial off-the-shelf components have been made in the AN/ALQ-254’s architecture. Mr. Damaskinos says that a modular design and a software-defined approach will ease the upgrade path of the system as it confronts new and emerging threats.
Lockheed Martin will integrate the Viper Shield with the AN/APG-83. This will deepen situational awareness by merging the threat picture of the radar with that generated by the AN/ALQ-254’s ESM. Aircrew can then decide which of these threats they wish to engage kinetically and electronically. At the heart of the Viper Shield effort is ensuring that the F-16V can survive in the heavily contested airspace of tomorrow’s conflicts. Mr. Damaskinos believes that there may even be the opportunity to fold elements of Viper Shield into legacy US Air Force F-16 jets in the future.