WASHINGTON — BAE Systems has won a contract to develop a new electronic warfare suite for US Special Operations Command's fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130Js.

USSOCOM, which operates a fleet of Air Force MC-130J and AC-130J Ghostrider planes, has awarded BAE a contract worth more than $20 million for the first phase of a multi-phase program to upgrade the fleet's EW systems, according to a Jan. 4 company statement.

The Radio Frequency countermeasures (RFCM) system, designed to be integrated into the MC-130Js and AC-130Js, will significantly enhance the aircrafts' ability to protect against electronic threats, according to the statement. RFCM offers fully integrated, precision geo-location and radio frequency countermeasure capabilities that will allow the fleet to better detect and defeat surface and airborne threats.

USSOCOM uses the aircraft for critical missions such as armed over-watch, helicopter refueling, close-air support and interdiction in hostile territories.

"This award is a significant milestone as it not only builds on our strong electronic warfare legacy, but also extends our proven electronic warfare capability to a large platform aircraft," said Brian Walters, vice president and general manager of Electronic Combat Solutions at BAE Systems, according to the statement. "Our all-digital RFCM system will ensure the mission-critical C-130J fleet remains capable and protected in the harshest environments."

The life cycle value of the contract is expected to exceed $400 million.

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