As the electromagnetic spectrum becomes more contested and congested worldwide, modern electronic warfare systems are essential equipment for tactical aircraft. Northrop Grumman’s F-16 electronic warfare suite for international operators draws upon the technologies developed for the United States F-16 fleet. Known as the ALQ-131C, this fully modernized, digital system is ready to defend against current and future threats. Commonality with the U.S. F-16 program of record provides a path to long-term access to upgrades and affordable sustainment, so operators can always keep up with the state of the art.
The reliable, sustainable and affordable pod is designed to give the fourth generation fleet the EW capabilities and performance of fifth generation aircraft. This important capability can play an important role in keeping the F-16 relevant for the duration of the platform’s lifespan. With the integration of the APG-83 AESA radar, the F-16 gains new radio frequency sensing and targeting capabilities. Ensuring that the electronic warfare system would work effectively with the radar was a top design goal of the engineering team.
“Our customers are facing a greater radio frequency threat to their tactical aircraft than ever before. Our ALQ-131C, and the U.S. F-16 electronic warfare suite, are bringing the latest digital RF survivability technologies to overcome this challenge,” said James Conroy, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman.
“The F-16 EW Suite has proven pulse-to-pulse interoperability with the APG-83 AESA radar. Our goal was to maximize the performance of both of these critical radio frequency systems to provide enhanced survivability and lethality to the platform. Our extensive testing confirms the success of this approach,” said Jim Jensen, Technical Fellow at Northrop Grumman.
The ALQ-131C is designed to detect and identify known, emerging and envisioned future threats in even dense, complex threat environments. The ALQ-131C’s high sensitivity digital receiver, high speed processors and Digital Radio Frequency Memory enable high fidelity digital signal generation. It is designed to defeat threat systems by applying the optimal coherent and/or non-coherent jamming technique. This level of protection enables the freedom of maneuver necessary to carry out the many missions of international operators.
Northrop Grumman’s open systems EW architecture offers the bandwidth needed to detect and defeat the most sophisticated RF threats, including agile air defense systems. Shared across the company’s family of EW systems, which includes capabilities for fighters, airlifters and rotary wing aircraft, this pioneering technology can protect virtually any platform or mission. As RF threats continue to proliferate, effective electronic warfare systems are urgently needed to keep pilots safe and ensure mission success. Interoperable, affordable and sustainable, Northrop Grumman’s ALQ-131C offers advanced EW capabilities for the global F-16 fleet today.