Navy wants more AN/BLQ-10 submarine electronic warfare (EW) systems to detect hostile radar signals at sea

May 1, 2020
The AN/BLQ-10 submarine EW system detects, classifies, pinpoints, and identifies potentially hostile radar and communications signals at sea.

WASHINGTON – Submarine combat systems experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. will build additional AN/BLQ-10 electronic warfare (EW) system for U.S. Navy submarines under terms of a $13.2 million order announced on Tuesday.

Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington are asking the Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems segment in Syracuse, N.Y., to design, prototype, and test the Technology Insertion (TI)-20 version of the AN/BLQ-10 submarine EW system, which automatically detects, classifies, pinpoints, and identifies potentially hostile radar and communications signals at sea.

The AN/BLQ-10 is for Virginia-, Los Angeles-, and Seawolf-class fast-attack submarines, Ohio-class conventional guided-missile submarines, and future Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarines. It is not for existing Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines.

The AN/BLQ-10 processes signals from the submarine’s imaging mast or periscope when the boat is at periscope depth. It provides threat warning to avoid counter-detection and collision; determines the number and location of targets for subsequent prosecution; and conducts intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) to support the fleet or battle group.

Related: Northrop Grumman to build lot nine of the AARGM anti-radar missile for electronic warfare (EW) combat jets

The program is adopting an open-architecture, incremental development process that fields hardware and software technology insertions every two years. The AN/BLQ-10 blends modular interoperable systems that adhere to open standards with published interfaces.

The system's first technology insertion in 2008 added a subsystem to intercept some low-probability-of-intercept radar signals. Fielded upgrades from the 2010 technology insertions updated commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) processors and displays, and Improved Communications Acquisition and Direction Finding (ICADF) system.

TI-12 upgrades have been fielded on advanced-model Los-Angeles-class attack submarines (SSN 688I) to include new and more powerful computer servers; and standardize the system's cyber security process.

TI-14 upgrades were scheduled for completion in 2018 for 688I submarines and new-construction Virginia-class submarines. It not only updated COTS processors and displays, but also upgraded the system's Electronic Warfare Server First Generation, which provides its electronic support system operator and platform decision makers with improved tactical situational awareness.

Related: Navy continues buying radar-spoofing electronic warfare (EW) equipment from Mercury Systems

TI-20 calls for Lockheed Martin to build an upgraded AN/BLQ-10 to modernize new-construction and in-service Virginia-class submarines, and for the future Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine.

TI-22 work will eventually will provide upgraded AN/BLQ-10 systems for in-service Los Angeles- and Seawolf-class attack submarines, as well as for Ohio-class conventional missile submarines. In the future, TI-24 work will build an upgraded AN/BLQ-10 for Virginia-class and Columbia-class new construction, as well as for in-service Virginia-class modernization.

On this order Lockheed Martin will do the work in Syracuse, N.Y., and should be finished by February 2021. For more information contact Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems online at, or Naval Sea Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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