Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and the US Navy have completed upgrades to the radar warning receiver in a Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft.

The upgrade was undertaken as part of the Advanced Passive Surveillance Capability programme, which started 2008. It is expected to improve the aircraft’s ability to locate and identify threats, and also improves its ability to fight in a modern complex electronic warfare environment.

Australian Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert said: "A significant improvement to a defence capability has been realised through the exceptional collaborative work of Australian defence scientists and our US allies.

"It took forward-looking research to develop the software upgrade and then some smart thinking to apply it to a real system in a fast jet.

"The upgrade was undertaken as part of the Advanced Passive Surveillance Capability programme, which started in 2008."

"Importantly for Australia, the US Navy considered this programme of work to be highly successful, and as a result is keen to undertake more collaborative work."

The programme was extensively supported by the Australian industry, which was involved in a number of significant contracts developing ground support software. A number of contracts were also awarded by DSTO to several small software and hardware development companies.

Robert said: "The work conducted under this project includes signal processing and parameter estimation algorithms and analysis tools for electronic warfare application, which will be relevant to a number of Australian Defence programmes.

"As these programmes evolve, it is expected there will be a number of opportunities to provide the Australian industry with technology they can include within their proposed solutions for these programmes."

The radar warning receiver upgrade is scheduled to be installed on the US fleet of Hornets and Super Hornets shortly, followed by RAAF’s fleet in the near future.

The Boeing-built twin seat F/A-18F Super Hornets are used by RAAF for air interception, air combat, close air support of ground troops, and interdiction of enemy supply lines including shipping.

Image: A Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A 18F Super Hornet during the 2013 Avalon Airshow in Australia. Photo: courtesy of Bidgee.