BAE Systems has won a $493m contract to upgrade and modernise the electronic warfare (EW) system for the F-35 Lightning II.

Awarded by Lockheed Martin, the aircraft enables the fifth-generation fighter jet to rapidly identify and address emerging electromagnetic (EM) threats in confined environments.

This contract will see BAE deliver improved and highly efficient core hardware for the F-35 fighter jet’s high-performance EW mission system, dubbed ‘AN/ASQ-239’.

The company will also provide engineering support services and other test infrastructure.

The enhanced system will improve situational awareness, EM attack, and countermeasure capabilities with new sensors and more powerful signal processing.

BAE Systems F-35 Solutions vice-president Lisa Aucoin said: “The capabilities we will deliver in this contract are foundational and will be leveraged to other platforms to ensure all warfighters have the most advanced EW capability at the ready.

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“The highly adaptable mission system will allow our warfighters to outpace evolving threats and defend democracy around the globe.”

The AN/ASQ-239 system is an advanced EW suite that provides integrated radar warning, targeting support and self-protection against adversaries.

It is designed for performance, sustainability, and future upgradability.

The enhanced EW system’s design will allow quick future upgrades that align with the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) continuous capability development strategy.

According to the company, the system also features the Non-Intrusive Electronic Warfare Test Solution fault isolation, besides diagnostics capability.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, British Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath received its first delivery of the F-35A Lightning II aircraft on 15 December.