WASHINGTON ― Raytheon has won a U.S. Air Force contract to manufacture AN/ALR-69A(V) digital radar warning receivers (RWR) for Japan under a foreign military sale, the Department of Defense announced May 29.

The $90 million indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract includes the fabrication, integration, testing and delivery of the radar Raytheon says is the first all-digital RWR.

But what does the receiver actually do?

In general, RWRs detect radio signals emitted by radars, and alerts users through visual prompts and audible tones if the signal could be a threat. These receivers can also identify radar signal types and distinguish between ground-based and air-based radars. Essentially, RWRs are much more advanced versions of radar detectors some lead-footed drivers have in their cars to avoid speeding tickets.

According to Raytheon, the ALR-69A ups the ante on RWR technology. The system adds capabilities unattainable in previous iterations, like enemy air defense suppression, simplified cross-platform integration, improved spectral and spatial coverage for high-sensitivity detection in cluttered signal environments and single-ship geolocation.

Discussing a recent deal made by the USAF to purchase 779 ALR-69A’s, Raytheon Electronic Warfare Systems Vice President Travis Slocumb said, “The ALR-69A provides USAF pilots the situational awareness required to operate in current and future complex emitter environments.”

“We will continue to upgrade the receiver and add machine learning-based modules so the system can autonomously adapt to new threats,” Slocumb added.

The latest contract is the result of a direct request from Japan, which will pay Raytheon $51.5 million from the Japanese FMS fund after placing its initial delivery order.

The ALR-69A is currently installed on USAF C-130H and KC-46A aircraft, and is being tested on F-16 Fighting Falcons.

Work on the radar warning systems will be conducted in California and Mississippi, and is expected to be complete by May 2023.

Daniel Cebul is an editorial fellow and general assignments writer for Defense News, C4ISRNET, Fifth Domain and Federal Times.

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