WASHINGTON — BAE Systems plans to demonstrate an interim advanced radar jamming technology next summer for helicopters and unmanned aircraft systems that is lighter and smaller than systems available now.
The company issued a statement Nov. 12 announcing the U.S. Army awarded it a research and development contract to bring the technology to bear. The system “aims to improve air survivability and mission effectiveness” for aircraft “by detecting and defeating complex and unknown threats in electronic combat," the statement read.
BAE will demonstrate the technology in July 2020.
The technology is under development within BAE Systems’ FAST Labs and combines adaptive radio frequency jamming and sensing capabilities into one system, a company statement noted.
“Whereas today’s electronic countermeasure systems are too bulky and heavy for most rotary-wing and UAS platforms, BAE Systems technology will combine multiple, software-programmable antennas into a digital phased array that will enable simultaneous functions, exceeding existing capabilities while reducing the size, weight, and power of current systems,” according to the British company’s statement.
As the Army looks to modernize its capabilities to fight across multiple domains in highly contested environments, the technology, the company said, will enable the aircraft to fly closer to threats and remain protected.
Lighter and smaller systems are also crucial, as existing aircraft continues to be weighed down by additional capabilities for fighting near-peer threats.
“With the continuously evolving threat landscape, it’s critical to provide the next-generation of digital phased array technology to better defend our armed forces in electronic warfare,” Chris Rappa, product line director for radio frequency, electronic warfare and advanced electronics at FAST Labs, said in the statement.
“Our technology will give the Army’s rotary-wing aircraft and UAS a new, low SWaP [size, weight and power] system to securely and drastically increase their range of movements in future missions,” he added.
BAE is planning flight tests within the next few years, FAST Labs Program Manager Ben McMahon told Defense News.
Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.