L3Harris has reached a critical design review benchmark in the development of its Viper Shield electronic warfare system, which is expected to enhance the offensive and defensive EW capabilities for Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70/72 Foreign Military Sales aircraft.
Created specifically for the vessel, the AN/ALQ-254(V)1 Viper Shield will deliver a virtual electronic shield that bolsters the aircraft’s defenses using a multiple digital radio frequency, memory-based jamming system, L3Harris announced from Melbourne, Florida on Monday.
“Viper Shield is the highest-performance, lowest-risk EW option for F-16 Vipers in an increasingly dangerous world. As the only EW system for these aircraft to successfully achieve this CDR milestone, we are one step closer to helping our global customers detect and defeat modern advanced threats,” said Ed Zoiss, president of space and airborne systems at L3Harris.
During testing conducted at the Lockheed Martin Systems Integration Lab last year, Viper Shield demonstrated interoperability with the novel APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar.
This technology includes an open-systems architecture utilizing commercial-off-the-shelf technology, which makes the system easier to modify and reduces lifecycle costs.
Using internal research and development investments and international commitments, L3Harris eliminated the need for U.S. government funding to build the Viper Shield EW system for the aircraft.
Once new hardware and software is installed into the system, Viper Shield will return to Lockheed Martin Systems Integration Lab to assess the complete compatibility of the next set of planned capabilities with the F-16 Block 70/72 FMS aircraft. The company expects to complete the next stage of the development process in the second quarter of 2023.
L3Harris’ other work in the electronic warfare realm includes an ongoing $947 million Air Force contract, under which the company is currently improving the AN/ALQ-172 EW self-protection system used in the service branch’s B-52 aircraft. Similar to Viper Shield, the AN/ALQ-172 system is intended to counter multiple electronic spectrum threats that may impact aircraft operations.