L3Harris Technologies has secured a contract from Lockheed Martin to develop a new advanced electronic warfare (EW) system for the F-16 fighter jet.

L3Harris designed the new EW system, known as ‘Viper Shield’, to provide advanced countermeasures to US and global coalition partners.

It protects F-16 aircraft from emerging radar and electronic threats with advanced digital technologies.

The Lockheed Martin-developed F-16 Fighting Falcon is the first of the US Air Force (USAF) multi-role fighter aircraft.

More than 2,000 are currently in service with the USAF and 2,500 operational with 25 other countries.

L3Harris said that the baseline version of the new EW system is integrated into the aircraft fuselage to save space for additional capability such as a fuel pod. The fuel pod can be attached externally to increase ‘mission range’.

L3Harris Technologies Space and Airborne Systems president Ed Zoiss said: “The L3Harris Viper Shield EW system enables the F-16 to continue to be one of the most effective combat aircraft in the world.

“Our 30-year legacy on the F-16, coupled with the advanced technologies being developed for Viper Shield, provide our warfighters and international partners with unprecedented self-protection that helps to ensure mission success.”

Viper Shield can be seamlessly integrated with the F-16’s weapon systems, including the fighter jet’s radar.

This enables Viper Shield to have ‘broad application to F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft configurations’.

According to L3Harris, more than a dozen countries in the Middle East, Asia and Europe intend to fly the Block 70/72 variant of F-16.