Reliable radar jamming and resistance to hostile electronic warfare (EW) will soon be standard, thanks to a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded program.
The agency has awarded BAE Systems a $13.3 million contract modification to its Adaptive Radar Countermeasures (ARC) project to fund Phase 3. The ARC program develops technologies that enable airborne electronic warfare systems to counter new, unknown, and adaptive radars in real time in the field.
Current EW systems struggle because they rely on a database of known threats with predefined countermeasures. In anti-access/area denial environments, that database is not available. It’s an urgent problem as Russia, whose EW capabilities are impressive, continues to exploit these weaknesses.
Future EW systems will have to isolate unknown radar signals in dense electromagnetic environments and then rapidly generate effective countermeasures. Advanced signal processing, intelligent algorithms, and machine learning techniques are the cognitive EW technologies developed for the ARC program.
Under the contract modification, Phase 3 work includes the planned completion of algorithm development, advanced readiness testing, and transitioning the ARC technologies to critical airborne warfare platforms, such as the F-35.
“The Phase 3 award from DARPA recognizes the progress our team delivered at the end of Phase 2,” said Louis Trebaol, ARC program manager at BAE Systems, in a press release. “In Phase 2, we successfully demonstrated the ability to characterize and adaptively counter advanced threats in a closed-loop test environment. We will now continue to mature the technology and test it against the most advanced radars in the U.S. inventory in order to successfully transition this important technology to the warfighter.”
This newest contract modification for Phase 3 bumps up the cumulative value of BAE Systems’ ARC contract to $35.5 million. Work will be performed at the company’s facilities in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.