The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor – what many consider still the best warplane on Earth – first took flight 26 years ago on September 7, 1997, following six years of development. The Collier Award-winning aircraft was designed to combine stealth, speed, agility, and situational awareness. While primarily an air superiority fighter, the Raptor could also serve as a ground-to-air attack aircraft.
After two and a half decades in service, the F-22 is arguably getting even better.
This week, BAE Systems announced that it received a five-year contract from Lockheed Martin to sustain the AN/ALR-94 advanced digital electronic warfare (EW) system for the F-22 Raptor. Under the contract, BAE Systems will continue to manage EW system repairs and upgrades, supplier logistics, test equipment maintenance, and provide depot-level spares and engineering support to maintain F-22 EW readiness and relevancy for its air dominance mission.
The AN/ALR-94 Upgrades for F-22
BAE Systems, a leader in electronic warfare, was the original manufacturer of the complex AN/ALR-94 EW system, and it has already provided lifecycle management of the system since the program’s inception. In collaboration with the aircraft’s prime contractor, along with the U.S. Air Force, BAE Systems has been tasked with delivering innovative, cost-effective EW mission system support, enabling the F-22 warfighter to execute critical missions in contested airspace. BAE Systems has provided life cycle management of the EW suite for all of the 183 F-22s in service.
“At BAE Systems, we are committed to delivering mission-critical capability to the warfighter when they need it most,” said Dan Harrington, director of F-22 Programs at BAE Systems. “We’re investing in sustainment excellence to keep Raptors and other platforms ready to engage modern threats and outpace our adversaries.”
The high-performance AN/ALR-94 system can protect the Raptor with integrated radar warning, targeting support, and countermeasures – providing enhanced situational awareness and self-protection. The system helps pilots identify, monitor, analyze, and rapidly respond to potential threats and enables mission success in signal-dense and contested environments.
“[The] AN/ALR-94 digital electronic warfare system geolocates potential threats by detecting adversary radars at significant ranges, allowing the F-22 Raptor to limit its own radar emissions, enabling it to better conceal its location when operating in hostile territory. Data collected by the AN/ALR-94 system helps identify, monitor, analyze, and rapidly respond to threats by providing the pilot with maximum situational awareness. Advanced avionics and sensors provide a complete view of the battlespace, enabling pilot to take appropriate action and ensure mission success. The AN/ALR-94 electronic warfare system also is reliable and maintainable reducing long-term life cycle costs,” BAE Systems explained.
The company noted its key features and benefits include: Integrated radar warning, targeting support, and countermeasures in one system; Reduced long-term lifecycle costs to keep the aircraft fielded now and in the future; Enhanced situational awareness through all-aspect, broadband radar warning and geolocation capabilities; Always-on multispectral, radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) countermeasures enable rapid response for complete pilot protection; and a 360-degree view of the battlespace, promoting mission success even in signal dense environments.
Terms of the contract were not disclosed, but Lockheed Martin is providing comprehensive sustainment for the Raptor as part of a $7 billion contract that was awarded in 2017.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.