JED - June 2015 - 27

The Journal of Electronic Defense | June 2015
BAE has a long track record with
missile warning systems for rotorcraft
and transport aircraft, but as pointed
out by Collette, there's a different set
of requirements for fast jet systems,
including different installation and environmental
considerations, as well as
performance parameters. "It's certainly
not insurmountable," he adds however,
noting that in some cases, the different
requirements can allow tradeoffs to be
made. "For example, with helicopters,
you're typically down in the dirt at
around 500 feet, with high clutter, and
threats coming at you at very low angles
of attack. Threat warning algorithms
in this environment are very complex,
and we work very hard to reduce false
alarms. At higher altitudes, however,
the environment is typically less cluttered,
and you may be able to trade such
complex false alarm rejection performance
for longer range detection."
Andrew Dunn, VP of Business Development
of the Integrated Electronic
Warfare Systems unit within Exelis Electronic
Systems (Clifton, NJ), observes
that missile warning for fast jets is
also primarily related to mission needs.
"Historically, missile warning technology
had been mostly focused on protection
for low/slow-flying aircraft against
MANPADS-type threats, and there
wasn't a lot of similar focus on providing
that capability for high/fast-flying
jets. However, that being said, there are
fast-jet aircraft out there today doing
close air support that are getting them
closer to the ground and therefore these
IR-based threats. The result is growing
interest in providing missile warning
for these aircraft to support those
At the same time, as already noted,
the air-to-air missile threat is also of increasing
concern for tactical fighter aircraft.
Niall Ingram, Selex Vice President
and Chief Technology Officer for EW,
says the scope of the air-to-air threat is
increasing, particularly in terms of the
ranges that air-to-air missiles can operate
over. "Whether this is facilitated by
the beyond visual range detection capabilities
of the platforms from which
they are released, or the capabilities of
the missile itself, or both, clearly more
and more countries are getting missiles
capable of operating over longer
One approach to dealing with such a
growing number and mix of threat types
and operating modes, has been the application
of powerful signal and data
processing capabilities to warning systems
and EW suites, as well as greater
fusion and networking of sensors and
data within and between systems. Ultimately,
the goal is to integrate and apply
all of an aircraft's sensors, including
its AESA radar, into the mission of missile
This also raises an interesting point,
however. Although no-one questions
the force-multiplying advantages provided
to tactical aircraft by their AESA
radars, the potential integration of this
powerful sensor into the role of missile
warning is still a relatively new science.
And, although on the face of it, the potential
benefits seem to be dramatic, in
fact, there are actually also a number of
significant problems that these systems
pose for defensive EW suites, particularly
radar warning systems.
For example, as pointed out by Elbit's
Menscher, "Even before we begin thinking
about trying to get more synergy between
the radar and the RWR, we have
to first deal with things like the interference
challenges posed by the AESA
radar in terms of working in such close
proximity." Although the use of all-digital,
and sophisticated receiver systems
and software can help mitigate this
and other challenges, Menscher says it
should still not be considered a trivial
concern and approaches to integration
should not focus on achieving the greatest
level of interaction, but rather on
increasing the overall capability of the
platform. "Generally speaking, I can see
synergy at the platform level between
the radar and the missile warning system,
but not by their working closely
together with each other, but rather
by having capabilities that can work in
parallel to benefit both."
As of today, the only true 5th Gen
fighter aircraft are the Lockheed Martin
F-22 "Raptor" and F-35 "Lightning II"
Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) stealth aircraft.
The F-22 informs the pilot through
a tightly integrated combination of, BAE
Systems' AN/ALR-94 passive RWR and
Lockheed Martin's AN/AAR-56 IR-based
Missile Launch Detector (MLD), as well
as its Northrop Grumman AN/APG-77
Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) AESA
radar, which together provide the pilot
with 360-degree situational awareness.
The F-22's cockpit fusion is performed
by Boeing and the EW hardware integration
is performed by Lockheed Martin.
With a greater range than the AN/
APG-77, the F-22's AN/ALR-94 passive
radar warning receiver system is fed
by more than 30 antennas smoothly
blended into the wings and fuselage of
the F-22, and is capable of cueing the
AN/APG-77 radar to lock onto targets.
The AN/AAR-56 Missile Launch Detector
(MLD) is a single-color IR warning system
capable of long-range detection of
both air- and surface-launched missiles.
The system is comprised of six IR staring
focal plane sensors with low-observable
window frame assemblies, three common
interface processing cards, and mature
missile detection software algorithms.
Lockheed Martin is exploring a multispectral
sensor variant of the system for
the F-22, as well as the incorporation of
an Infrared Search and Track (IRST) capability
that could be used to passively
detect aircraft at long range through
different aspects of their heat signature.
The F-35 is equipped with the
Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 AESA radar.
It also carries the Lockheed Martin
nose-mounted Electro-Optical Targeting
System (EOTS), the BAE Systems AN/
ASQ-239 "Barracuda" RF EW suite and
the Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-37 IR
Distributed Aperture System (DAS),
which performs missile warning. As described
by Peter Bartos, Northrop Grumman
Director, Combat Avionics Systems
Improvements & Derivatives
MD), "The F-35's overall situational
awareness is sensor-fusion based with
all sensors contributing what they can
to support both offensive and defensive
situational awareness."
The AN/ASQ-239 "Barracuda" reportedly
includes 10 RF antennas embedded

JED - June 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - June 2015

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Leadership Interview
Missile Warning for Fighter Aircraft
Technology Survey: RWR/ESM Systems
EW 101
2015 AOC Election Guide
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - June 2015 - cover1
JED - June 2015 - cover2
JED - June 2015 - 3
JED - June 2015 - 4
JED - June 2015 - 5
JED - June 2015 - The View From Here
JED - June 2015 - 7
JED - June 2015 - Conferences Calendar
JED - June 2015 - 9
JED - June 2015 - Courses Calendar
JED - June 2015 - 11
JED - June 2015 - From the President
JED - June 2015 - 13
JED - June 2015 - 14
JED - June 2015 - The Monitor
JED - June 2015 - 16
JED - June 2015 - 17
JED - June 2015 - 18
JED - June 2015 - 19
JED - June 2015 - World Report
JED - June 2015 - 21
JED - June 2015 - Leadership Interview
JED - June 2015 - 23
JED - June 2015 - 24
JED - June 2015 - 25
JED - June 2015 - Missile Warning for Fighter Aircraft
JED - June 2015 - 27
JED - June 2015 - 28
JED - June 2015 - 29
JED - June 2015 - 30
JED - June 2015 - 31
JED - June 2015 - 32
JED - June 2015 - 33
JED - June 2015 - 34
JED - June 2015 - 35
JED - June 2015 - 36
JED - June 2015 - 37
JED - June 2015 - 38
JED - June 2015 - Technology Survey: RWR/ESM Systems
JED - June 2015 - 40
JED - June 2015 - 41
JED - June 2015 - 42
JED - June 2015 - 43
JED - June 2015 - 44
JED - June 2015 - 45
JED - June 2015 - 46
JED - June 2015 - 47
JED - June 2015 - EW 101
JED - June 2015 - 49
JED - June 2015 - 50
JED - June 2015 - 51
JED - June 2015 - 52
JED - June 2015 - 53
JED - June 2015 - 54
JED - June 2015 - 2015 AOC Election Guide
JED - June 2015 - 56
JED - June 2015 - 57
JED - June 2015 - 58
JED - June 2015 - 59
JED - June 2015 - 60
JED - June 2015 - AOC News
JED - June 2015 - 62
JED - June 2015 - 63
JED - June 2015 - 64
JED - June 2015 - Index of Advertisers
JED - June 2015 - JED Quick Look
JED - June 2015 - cover3
JED - June 2015 - cover4