Air Force and Boeing upgrade F-15 electronic warfare

Electronic warfare advancements for the F-15 are aimed at improving the aircraft’s ability to launch and defend against EW attacks

New electronic countermeasures planned for the Air Force F-15 jet fighter will help the aircraft stave off retirement for several decades, according to DOD sources.

 Boeing has secured a $478 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the F-15 Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) engineering, manufacturing and development. The contract will provide planning, design development, integration, testing and risk reduction activities for this new electronic warfare (EW) suite for more than 400 F-15Es and F-15Cs.

 Boeing won the initial contract for the EPAWSS project last year and hired BAE Systems as the primary subcontractor. According to BAE, “EPAWSS offers fully integrated radar warning, geo-location, situational awareness, and self-protection solutions to detect and defeat surface and airborne threats in signal-dense contested and highly contested environments.” Others improvements include increased chaff and flare capabilities.

These updated EW capabilities replace the Tactical Electronic Warfare Suite, which has been used since the 1980s, not long after the F-15 first deployed. The service plans to operate the fleet until the mid-2040’s, so an overhaul of the Eagle’s electronic systems helps maintain U.S. air supremacy.

 According to Air Force spokesman Maj. Rob Leese, “Many of the F-15 systems date back to the 1970’s and must be upgraded if the aircraft is to remain operationally effective. Various upgrades will be complete as early as 2021 for the F-15C AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar and as late as 2032 for the various EW upgrades.”

 Work will be performed in Missouri and should wrap up by Aug. 2020. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2016 research, development, test, and evaluation funds in the amount of $78,204,519 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio is the contracting activity.