L3Harris Technologies has been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin for development of a new advanced electronic warfare system to protect the international F-16 multirole fighter aircraft against emerging radar and electronic threats. L3Harris designed AN/ALQ-254(V)1 Viper Shield to provide U.S. and global coalition partners with cutting-edge countermeasures against sophisticated, ever-changing threats. The baseline version is integrated into the aircraft fuselage, saving space for additional capability such as a fuel pod that could be attached externally to increase mission range.
Seamless integration with the F-16’s weapon systems, including the aircraft’s radar, enables Viper Shield to have broad application to Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft configurations. More than a dozen countries in the Middle East, Asia and Europe plan to fly the F-16 Block 70/72 variant. L3Harris has delivered EW solutions for a wide variety of airborne platforms for more than 60 years, including strategic bombers, tactical fighters and rotary aircraft.
“The L3Harris Viper Shield EW system enables the F-16 to continue to be one of the most effective combat aircraft in the world,” said Ed Zoiss, President, Space and Airborne Systems, L3Harris. “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’s software-defined technology components enable unprecedented digital radar threat warning and robust digital countermeasure capabilities in a fully integrated, internally mounted system. Its advanced digital radar warning receiver (DRWR) technology integrates seamlessly with the aircraft’s new APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to deliver greater situational awareness. The digital radio frequency memory (DRFM)-based jamming system provides enhanced capability against advanced threats.
The open-system design accommodates seamless addition of combat-proven EW applications, providing state-of-the-art capability to address emerging and future threats. Enhanced system performance provides improved probability of intercept against agile threats. A new pilot and vehicle interface provides the pilot with full situational awareness and easier interaction with the system. New sophisticated technology prevents any EW interference to and from a wingman.
Viper Shield is designed with fewer critical components than previous generation EW systems. This not only results in a smaller form factor and reduced weight, but also a higher mean time between failure and lower lifecycle costs. The modular design supports swapping line replaceable units (LRUs) in the field. The design is also forward-looking by provisioning for future growth and enhancements. Its 3U COTS technology and software-defined architecture will simplify future upgrades, enabling the warfighter to affordably modernize with new capabilities and technologies, minimizing obsolescence.