NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The US Navy has selected RTX and L3Harris Technologies to help repair electronic warfare packages on its F/A-18 Super Hornet fleet.
Both companies were awarded $80 million original contracts for the Advanced Electronic Warfare, or ADVEW, effort last year, after an initial competition. A final decision on production is expected in 2026.
Boeing’s current interception and detection systems are patchy. The ADVEW effort aims to simplify components and incorporate a government-mandated open architecture for easier patching and upgrades. The plug-and-play approach is believed to reduce downtime as well as overall costs.
“What it really does is it combines electronic attack and support measures into one integrated system,” Jen Lewis, president of advanced combat systems at L3Harris, said in an interview at the Association of Old Crows conference in Maryland. “Today, the F-18 is struggling because it has a federal system. This takes everything and combines it so that the reaction time is much faster so that our warfighters get the information they need.”
Aircraft must navigate environments filled with radar, missiles and other threats. Penetration — or zipping past, with the help of electronic manipulation — is critical.
The Navy, along with other US military agencies, is pouring money into electronic warfare amid preparations for possible war with Russia and China. Both world powers have built anti-access and area-denial arsenals to keep attackers at bay and limit movement on the battlefield. The issue was less acute in the Greater Middle East.
Bryan Rosselli, president of advanced products and solutions at Raytheon’s RTX business, said in a statement that the prototype paves the way for the “next generation” of electronic warfare. The Navy last year identified non-kinetic effects, or attacks that may not be visible to the naked eye but wreak havoc on networks and other digital equipment, as a determinant of future conflicts.
“We are replacing and fully integrating legacy systems into a one-box solution that will deliver a generational refresh in electronic warfare capability for the lifetime of the Super Hornet,” said Rosselli.
RTX and L3Harris are among the world’s 10 largest contractors when ranked by defense-related revenue, according to the Defense News Top 100 study. The former earned $39.6 billion in 2022. The latter earned 13.9 billions of dollars.
Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration – specifically Cold War liquidation and nuclear weapons development – for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award winning photographer.
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