June 14, 2006 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - BAE Systems has delivered the first production digital electronic warfare (EW) system to Lockheed Martin for use in the U.S. Air Force's Raptor no. 4084.
Lt. Col. James Hecker (front) and Lt. Col. Evan Dertein line up their F/A-22 Raptor aircraft behind a KC-10 Extender to refuel while en route to Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Colonel Hecker commands the first operational Raptor squadron -- the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va. The unit went to Hill for operation Combat Hammer, the squadron's first deployment, Oct. 15. The deployment has a twofold goal: complete a deployment and to generate a combat-effective sortie rate away from home. [U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt Ben Bloker]
The airframe is well into production and slated for delivery to the Air Force in November 2006.
"Raptor pilots will be flying the world's premier fifth-generation fighter equipped with the best digital electronic warfare system available in any fighter in the world," said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin vice president for F-22 product development. "BAE
Systems' digital EW program is a model product improvement program that provides state-of-the art technology to the F-22."
The digital EW system exploits breakthroughs in commercial analog-to-digital technology and field-programmable gate arrays. It replaces older analog receiver technology with reconfigurable digital receivers, providing cost, power, and weight savings for the F-22.
"This is the first production deployment of a wideband EW digital receiver on a tactical platform. The system has passed all performance and qualification testing to begin operational aircraft installation," said Bill Hill, BAE Systems' Digital EW program manager at Nashua, N.H. "The digital receiver provides in excess of 500 megahertz of instantaneous measurement bandwidth and the same hardware can be reconfigured to perform wideband channelizer, tuned superheterodyne receiver, or compressive receiver functions."
The product improvement program began as a BAE Systems company-funded research and development effort to build a wideband, channelized digital receiver. The program will result in a 20 percent per-unit cost savings, yielding production cost reductions in excess of $80 million for F-22 production lots 5-9.