September 18, 2013
BAE Systems’ Digital Electronic Warfare System (DEWS) has been installed on a Boeing F-15SA Strike Eagle, and flight tests should start shortly, BAE says.
DEWS is the first new U.S.-developed EW system to be installed on the F-15 since the program started, replacing the Northrop Grumman ALQ-135. It is being developed for Saudi Arabia and is part of Boeing’s Silent Eagle package on offer to South Korea.
DEWS is an all-digital system using digital radio-frequency memory (DRFM) technology, and BAE Systems says that it represents a major advance over the analog TEWS in terms of performance and reliability. Digital EW receivers can listen across an entire frequency band constantly, rather than scanning the band, and interferometric antenna systems can obtain much more accurate bearing measurements. Targets detected by DEWS are fused with radar and infrared search and track data and shown on the F-15SA’s large-format cockpit displays.
BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman are competing to supply a new EW system for USAF F-15C/D/E aircraft under the Eagle passive/active warning and survivability system (EPAWSS) program. BAE does not expect to see a request for proposals on EPAWSS before 2014 and says that requirements are still being defined. (One open issue is whether to include a towed decoy.) The USAF has also not decided whether to select an EPAWSS supplier itself, or whether to delegate that task to prime contractor Boeing, as it did with the new radar for the F-16.