ITT burnishing reputation in electronic jamming

Paris Air Show » 2007
June 18, 2007, 10:29 AM

ITT, for many years a key player in the electronic warfare (EW) sector, continues to reinforce its position by continual developments. On display in model form here at Paris is the latest iteration of the state-of-the-art ALQ-211 electronic countermeasures system (ECS), now packaged into a stand- alone pod.

The ALQ-211 was developed as a family of jamming systems that saw its initial application in helicopters. The ALQ-211(V)1 is installed in AH-64D Apache Longbows, and was followed by the (V)2 for the V-22 Osprey and (V)3 for the cancelled RAH-66 Comanche. Other rotary-wing applications are the NH90/(V)5, MH-47/(V)6 and MH-60/(V)7, while the (V)8 is a large-aircraft application as recently installed in a Boeing BBJ for an unspecified customer.

ITT’s watchwords are “modular and scaleable,” and the ALQ-211 system has proved adaptable for a variety of platforms. The ALQ-211(V)4 AIDEWS version was tailored to the F-16 and has been included in export sales of the Fighting Falcon to Chile, Oman, Poland and, most recently, Pakistan. Success in this field led ITT to develop a podded version–the ALQ-211(V)9. It is packaged into the pod used by the ALQ-131 jammer, a system that is in widespread use but that has been around since the 1970s. Using the ALQ-131’s existing pod not only saves greatly on the need for new flight trials, but also provides a considerable amount of vacant space for future growth. Like the -131, it will be carried on the centerline or on a wing pylon that has been wired to carry jammers. Unlike previous podded jammers, the removal and replacement of component LRUs is possible while still on the aircraft.

A podded system has significant potential for the upgrade market, as a cost-effective means of upgrading a fighter’s EW suite to current technology levels without the need to integrate distributed sensors and new wiring. ITT already has a customer for the podded ALQ-211, although it has not yet made a formal announcement. It is, however, for application on the F-16, and air tests have already been undertaken. Of course, the podded nature of the system allows it to be carried by a number of types.

ITT is now in full-rate production of its ALQ-214 IDECM system for the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and has also been chosen for the Royal Australian Air Force’s recent order for 24 Super Hornets.

Development directions
For future systems ITT is working on a number of programs and improvements. There is much interest in increasing the bandwidth of digital receivers, while a key emerging technology is the use of RF energy for electronic attack. ITT is working on risk-reduction and development programs concerned with array technology.

Traditionally a company dealing in the RF (radio frequency) spectrum, ITT is also looking to expand with a move into the infrared spectrum, and has air-tested a development infrared jamming head that is expected to lead to an IRCM system being offered in the near future. Other work is being undertaken in the field of radar-assisted instrument landing systems (RAILS), and technologies to counter IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

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