Lockheed Martin extends shipboard electronic warfare system reach with SH-60R helicopters

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Lockheed Martin Corp. is extending the reach of Navy shipboard electronic warfare (EW) systems to SH-60S and SH-60R helicopters by means of its Advanced Offboard Electronic Warfare (AOEW) system.

By Edward J. Walsh
By Edward J. Walsh

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Lockheed Martin Corp. is extending the reach of Navy shipboard electronic warfare (EW) systems to SH-60S and SH-60Rhelicopters by means of its Advanced Offboard Electronic Warfare (AOEW) system.

That's the word from Joe Ottaviano, Lockheed Martin’s director for electronic warfare, who made his comments at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space conference and trade show earlier this spring in National Harbor, Md.

The Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training segment in Syracuse, N.Y., is integrating the AOEW active mission payload in a pod designated ALQ-248. The SH-60S and SH-60R are variants of the Navy’s SH-60 Seahawk.

The “S” is designated primarily for mine countermeasures, the “R” is fitted out for anti-submarine warfare operations, although both conduct combat search and rescue, surveillance, and other missions.

Related: Navy moves forward on helicopter-based EW to protect surface warships from missiles

Lockheed Martin is prime contractor for Block 2 of the Navy’s long-term surface warfare improvement program (SEWIP), which started in 2002 to upgrade the Raytheon-developed passive SLQ-32(v) electronic warfare system aboard surface ships. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems won a 2003 contract for Block 1 SEWIP to address SLQ-32(v) obsolescence.

Lockheed Martin won the Block 2 work in 2009 to modernize electronic support antennas, receivers, and interface to the SLQ-32(v). (The currently fielded system, incorporating upgrades to date, is SLQ-32(v)6.)

In early 2015 the Navy awarded Block 3 work to Northrop Grumman, which will add an electronic attack capability. The Navy also plans to pursue a Block 4 effort to incorporate electro-optic and infrared sensors to the ‘32(v) system.

The AOEW pod aboard the SH-60S and SH-60R helicopters can be integrated with the SLQ-32(v)6 system aboard Ticonderoga-class (CG 47) cruisers and Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) destroyers, through the ships’ Aegis combat system, to detect approaching threat missiles and generate electronic countermeasures. The pod also will be able to operate independent of the ship.

Related: Lockheed Martin to upgrade Navy MH-60R helicopter with submarine-hunting radar system

Lockheed Martin won the Navy contract in early 2017 to develop the AOEW pods system, and to build 18 units if all options are exercised.

The company also is upgrading the ALQ-217 passive electronic support measures system now fielded to the E-2C and E-2D Hawkeye maritime surveillance aircraft. The system consists of four antennas, four active front ends, and a receiver/processor. The upgrade increases system power and replaces older analog components with digital technology.

The improved ALQ-217 will go aboard new-production E-2D aircraft and backfitted to those already in service.

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