Lockheed Martin said that it is planning to deliver the first set of Advanced Off-Board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) AN/ALQ-248 pods for the U.S. Navy MH-60R/S Seahawk helicopter by the end of this year or early next year.
"The idea behind it is to bring the fight beyond the electronic horizon and in such a way that the adversaries don't actually understand or know we're there," Joseph Ottaviano, the director of Lockheed Martin Electronic Warfare Systems, told reporters on May 1 at the company's Global Vision Center in Arlington, Virginia, in advance of the Navy League's annual Sea-Air-Space exposition next week. "They can't see us because we understand the RF spectrum, and we've taken that ability to fight away because he thinks I might be over there instead of over here. He's going to launch a salvo and it's going to go hopelessly into the sea. We hope he'll continue to do that until he runs out of weapons so we never have to fire ours."
Ottaviano said that the system "also brings innovative capabilities to protect the host aircraft."
The Navy first awarded Lockheed Martin a $42 million AOEW contract in late 2016. Ottaviano said the Navy completed a Critical Design Review of the pod last year.
The system can work with a ship’s on-board electronic surveillance sensor, the SEWIP Block 2 AN/SLQ-32(V)6, or independently to detect an incoming missile and evaluate where it is headed.
The system next uses radio frequency countermeasures to deter the target missile.
"It's the first true long duration EW electromagnetic spectrum, sensing, detecting and electronic attack system that's in the pipeline that actually gets out beyond the electronic horizon that does what is typically known as stand-in jamming and really gets inside the kill chain so we take the fight to them before they see us," Ottaviano said.