Lockheed Martin to build helicopter-based electronic warfare (EW) to protect ships from missiles

SYRACUSE, N.Y., 16 Jan. 2017. U.S. Navy surface warfare and missile defense experts are choosing Lockheed Martin Corp. to develop and build a helicopter-based long-range electronic warfare (EW) system to to protect Navy surface ships from existing and future advanced anti-ship missiles.

Lockheed Martin to build helicopter-based electronic warfare (EW) to protect ships from missiles
Lockheed Martin to build helicopter-based electronic warfare (EW) to protect ships from missiles
SYRACUSE, N.Y., 16 Jan. 2017. U.S. Navy surface warfare and missile defense experts are choosing Lockheed Martin Corp. to develop and build a helicopter-based long-range electronic warfare (EW) system to protect Navy surface ships from existing and future advanced anti-ship missiles.

Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington have chosen the Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems segment in Syracuse, N.Y., to build the AN/ALQ-248 Advanced Off-Board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) Active Mission Payload (AMP) system for the MH-60R and MH-60S ship-based maritime helicopters.

Lockheed Martin will undertake the preliminary design and low-rate initial production phase of the AOEW program. If the Navy exercises all contract options, Lockheed Martin will deliver as many as 18 AOEW AMP AN/ALQ-248 pods.

AOEW will provide long-endurance, off-board electronic countermeasures against current and future anti-ship missile threats with a long-duration EW active mission payload for the MH-60R and MH-60S ship-based maritime helicopters.

The AOEW AMP AN/ALQ-248 can work independently or together with the ship’s onboard AN/SLQ-32(V)6 Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2 to detect an incoming missile and then evaluate where it is going, Lockheed Martin officials say. AOEW then uses radio frequency countermeasure techniques to deter the missile.

Related: Navy asks Lockheed to start full-scale production of SEWIP shipboard electronic warfare (EW) system

The AOEW program is intended to devise countermeasures for some of the world's most advanced radar-guided anti-ship missiles, such as the Russian-made SS-N-22 Sunburn and SS-NX-26 Oniks.

The Sunburn can fly at three times the speed of sound and carries a 705-pound explosive warhead. The Oniks missile, meanwhile, can fly as fast as Mach 2.5, carries a 661-pound warhead, and may have the capability to maneuver on its terminal flight to its target, which could make defeating it difficult, if not impossible.

One of the goals of the AOEW program is to detect and jam incoming fast anti-ship missiles at standoff ranges to give on-board and off-board missile defenses a fighting chance at staving off the incoming weapon.

The AOEW program attracted attention from some of the nation's top-tier EW houses such as Raytheon Co. Northrop Grumman Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Harris Inc., and BAE Systems.

Related: Raytheon moves forward in developing new missile-defense shipboard radar for Burke destroyer

Although initial AOEW prototypes are to be installed on MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters, future deployable versions may be intended for long-range, long-endurance fixed-wing or helicopter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), experts say.

Lockheed Martin will develop a modular open-systems architecture (MOSA) to enable the EW payload to adapt to evolving threats, hasten deployment, reduce development time and costs, and facilitate future system upgrades and technology insertion.

The AOEW program capitalizes on Lockheed Martin expertise across the corporation. Manufacturing of the AOEW AN/ALQ-248 systems will be in Syracuse, N.Y., and will begin in early 2019. The Lockheed Martin facility in Owego, N.Y., will integrate the system onto the MH-60 helicopters, which are built by Lockheed Martin Sikorsky in Stratford, Conn.

For more information contact Lockheed Martin rotary and Mission Systems online at www.lockheedmartin.com/us/rms.html, or Naval Sea Systems Command at www.navsea.navy.mil.

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