Air Force chooses Elbit to provide infrared missile warning systems in upgrades to F-16 jet fighters

March 6, 2020
PAWS uses signal processing to detect and track incoming missiles, identify threatening ones, and alert the aircrew with audio-visual warning signals.

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – U.S. Air Force aerial warfare experts needed infrared missile warning systems for upgrades to the Air Force fleet of F-16 jet fighters. They found their solution from Elbit Systems of America in Fort Worth, Texas.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, announced a potential $471.6 million contract to Elbit on Thursday for a pylon-based infrared missile warning system for F-16 sustainment.

Elbit manufacturers the Passive Airborne Warning System (PAWS) family of aircraft missile-defense systems.

Related: Navy asks Northrop Grumman to provide LAIRCM laser-based missile-defense systems for large aircraft

PAWS provides early warning of threatening missiles and by automatic management of onboard countermeasures. It uses digital signal processing and algorithms to detect and track incoming missiles, identify threatening ones, alert the aircrew with audio-visual warning signals, dispense flares, and cue directional IR countermeasures.

The PAWS processing unit supports radar warning and laser warning, and hands-off threat information to other electronic warfare (EW) and defensive avionics.

PAWS infrared missile warning systems are installed in a distributed configuration over the F-16 aircraft's skin in a pylon to offer high probability of detection at the incoming missile's lethal range.

Related: Army wants dual-use aircraft infrared sensor for missile warning and situational awareness

PAWS offers early detection and fast reaction time; fast time-to-impact; low false alarm rate; performance in all weather and visibility conditions; enhanced situation awareness; stealth operation; hostile fire indicator to protect from light arms; automatic flare dispensing; automatic; and raw infrared video recording and navigation data capabilities in real time.

The Elbit PAWS systems are suitable for fixed-wing combat aircraft, helicopters, and commercial passenger jets. It can fit on the AH-1 Cobra, AH-64D Apache Longbow, AW-101, 412, CH-47 Chinook, Mi-8/17/24, Super-Puma, and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters; the A-1M, F-15, F-16, and F-18 combat jets; the 737, 747, 767, 777 passenger jets; and the C-130B, C-130H, C-130J, CN-235, and Il-76 military utility aircraft.

On this contract Elbit will do the work in Fort Worth, Texas, and should be finished by February 2030. For more information contact Elbit Systems of America online at, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center-Hill Air Force Base at

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!