Farnborough Air Show

ITT protects F-18s with EW jammer

 - November 27, 2006, 5:47 AM

The AN/ALQ-214(V)2 radar homing electronic warfare (EW) system, which ITT Industries developed for the Boeing F/A-18E/F fighter’s integrated defensive electronic countermeasures (IDECM) system is one of several significant new breakthroughs that the U.S. group is hailing here at Farnborough International (Hall 2 Stand A9). Company executives John Capeci, v-p and director of business development (EW), and Chris Carlson, chief engineer for EW export programs explained to Aviation International News just how much of an accomplishment delivering the AN/ALQ-214(V)2 was for ITT.

“This is perhaps the only example where an EW system has passed muster and performed to spec on operational testing on the first time through the program,” said Capeci. “The success is a result of ITT’s history of experience in supplying EW systems for the F/A-18 platform, which we have been doing since the early C/D models.”

The AN/ALQ-214(V)2 is a digital radio frequency memory-based, modern technology EW jammer that will operate in conjunction with the BAE Systems AN/ALE-55 fiber optic towed decoy, the latter of which is in its final stages of operational testing.  “Using these two systems in parallel considerably reduces the lethality of RF threats,” explained Carlson. ITT keeps the system up to date with an ongoing program to update the software and threat libraries.

The total value of the contract ITT has for this system with the U.S. Navy is up to $454.7 million, and potential export and follow-on sales could take the figure to the $1 billion mark, said Capeci.

The other major EW success story for ITT is the ALQ-211 EW system for the U.S. Army’s fleets of special operations helicopters. This system recently completed milestone III testing, which gave the special operations the confidence to go with a low-rate of production, which may go to full-rate production once some additional testing is completed this year. The system will be used on Boeing CH-47 Chinooks, Sikorsky MH-60K Black Hawks and Bell Boeing V-22 Ospreys.

“On board a helicopter this system performs three functions,” said Carlson. “It is the main RF threat jammer, it is also the radar warning receiver, and it is the central controller for the entire EW suite, including the infrared and laser-based countermeasures. Its strength is that it is a modular, scalable system that has been around as a design concept since the early 1990s.  Since that time we have refined it and added different functionality for different customers. Many of our designs are ones in which we continue to refine and improve on a basic concept or configuration and keep them state-of-the-art.”

“A testimony to the strength of the design,” said Capeci, “is that all three prime contractors for the competition in the new combat sea air rescue helicopter program chose our system for their proposed design configuration.”

Beyond the company’s accomplishments in the EW market, ITT has some new developments in radar and air traffic control (ATC) systems.

The company has ongoing tests in the works of the U.S. Air Force’s Mobile Approach Control System, a portable ATC network that is being offered for export. In Egypt ITT has completed delivery and installation of the first of six SPS-48 transportable land-based, 3-D air defense radars. And, in the UK the company has sold 20 replacement precision approach radar systems through its UK subsidiary, ITT Defence Ltd.  

“One of our biggest assets is that we are performing on-time in almost 100 percent of our deliveries,” said Capeci, “which sometimes means as much as the performance of the technology itself.