Northrop Grumman has secured a contract from Lockheed Martin to deliver new capabilities to protect the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II multi-role fighter.

As agreed, Northrop Grumman will deliver its AN/ASQ-242 Integrated Communications, Navigation and Identification (ICNI) system that will provide F-35 pilots with around 27 fully-integrated operational functions.

The Northrop Grumman’s technology enables simultaneous operation of multiple critical functions reducing size, weight and power requirements on the fighter jet.

Such functions include Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), automatic acquisition of fly-to points, and voice and data communications such as the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL).

Separately, the programme will also see the integration of BAE Systems’ AN/ASQ-239 electronic warfare / countermeasures (EW/CM) system with the F-35, under a collaborative arrangement between the three companies.

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

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By GlobalData

Northrop Grumman F-35 programmes vice-president Howard Lurie said: “This arrangement allows us to collectively provide enhanced capabilities without compromising the size, weight or power of the aircraft.

“We are proud to be a primary partner of the F-35 team, providing our US and allied warfighters superior combat effectiveness.”

BAE Systems F-35 Solutions vice-president Deborah Norton said: “As Lockheed Martin’s electronic warfare integrator for all F-35 aircraft, we’re committed to equipping our customers with advanced capabilities that help them conduct their missions.

“Under this collaborative agreement, we will work closely with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to enhance the capability of our fully integrated EW system, heightening pilots’ situational awareness and helping them evade, engage and defeat modern threats.”

The latest contract comes days after the US Air Force (USAF) downselected Northrop Grumman as a sole contractor to provide F-16 electronic warfare (EW) suite.