The US Air Force's (USAF) F-15 fighter aircraft modernisation programme has reached a milestone in its development of Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS).

The EPAWSS passed the critical design review (CDR), allowing it to move forward in providing F-15 aircrew with an advanced defensive and jamming system.

The review was completed by Boeing in February and follows BAE Systems’ CDR of the system’s electronic warfare (EW) suite carried out at the end of 2016.

BAE Systems Electronic Combat Solutions vice-president and general manager Brian Walters said: “Our entire team is driven by the importance of providing this enhanced EW technology to our warfighters in a timely manner.

"The EPAWSS is designed to improve mission effectiveness and survivability of the aircraft against current and emerging threats."

“EPAWSS provides a critical capability, and it is our mission to provide this on or ahead of schedule.”

BAE Systems was selected by Boeing in October 2015 to develop a new EW system as part of a programme to develop EPAWSS for F-15, which is scheduled to be in service until 2040.

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The EPAWSS is designed to improve mission effectiveness and survivability of the aircraft against current and emerging threats.

It will replace the current F-15 tactical electronic warfare suite (TEWS), which has been in service since the 1980s.

This all-digital system is claimed to improve aircraft protection with advanced electronic countermeasures, radar warning, and increased chaff and flare capability.

It offers geolocation, situational awareness, and self-protection solutions to detect and defeat surface and airborne threats in signal-dense and highly contested environments.

Image: Three F-15 fighter aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force / Staff Sergeant Michael B Keller