14 August 2018
The AN/ALQ-135 is part of the TEWS (Tactical Electronic Warfare System) on Boeing/McDonnell Douglas F-15 fighters. The F-15 TEWS consists of the AN/ALR-56 radar warning receiver (RWR), the ALQ-135 Internal Countermeasures System (ICS), the AN/ALQ-128 electronic warfare warning system and the AN/ALE-45 Counter-Measures Disenser System (CMDS).
The AN/ALQ-135 is a high-powered automatic radar jammer system which is computer-controlled by the AN/ALR-56 radar warning receiver. The ALQ-135 is capable of jamming both pulse and continuous wave threat radars in a 360-degree azimuth. It has look-thru-while-jam ability, a large integrated threat library, and Built-In Test (BIT).
Production of the AN/ALQ-135 has ended for US aircraft, but updated systems were in production for South Korea’s F-15Ks through about 2013 (Singapore turned to Israel for its F-15SG’s EW suite). The F-15 has been among the most successful US fighter programs, and the sale to South Korea was hugely important for its future. The F-15K/SG rejuvenated the aircraft, with new systems, weapons, and sensors. Also, both countries have al-ready bought more planes, as a 40 or 12 aircraft force is not a sustainable minimum for the long run. However, after a couple of years of dashed hopes for new buyers, today there is little chance for additional F-15/ALQ-135 procurement, though there should be significant continuing upgrade & support funding.
Our forecast includes substantial near-term production of BAE Systems’ new AN/ALQ-239 Digital Electronic Warfare Suite (DEWS). Despite the political fallout over recent events in the region, the Saudis have wanted new F-15s for some time. All 84 new F-15SAs are in our forecast. Upgrading the existing 70 F-15S to a common configuration with DEWS also makes sense, and Saudi can still afford it.
In November 2016, the USAF awarded the four-year, $478.8 million EPAWSS EMD Contract to Boeing and BAE Systems.
Major EPAWSS procurement funding in the FY16 USAF budget was scheduled to begin in FY19, but this was always likely slide right. Still, our forecast is only a couple of years behind the USAF – the F-15 urgently needs a new EW suite. RDT&E funding has already ramped up (to $240 million in FY17), but realistically, significant production is unlikely until next decade.
These three programs should be worth more than a half-billion dollars combined, annually, to BAE Systems for most years in our ten-year forecast period, increasing after that as USAF EPAWSS production ramps up and continues.