The next phase of the down-complete selection for the F/A-18 electronic warfare (EW) modernisation has begun, with L3Harris one of two manufacturers to make it through, winning an $80m US Navy contract for the design an electronic attack system that can provide prompt threat detection, the company announced 2 November.  

The final decision for follow-on development is expected in 2026, when the decision between the final to manufacturers will be made and  production contracts awarded. 

“L3Harris is developing the advanced EW system to drive mission success and ensure naval aviators are protected for years to come,” said Ed Zoiss, L3Harris President of Space and Airborne Systems. “This award builds upon decades of delivering EW systems to the Navy, and we are excited that our technology is protecting pilots in dangerous situations while allowing them to dominate potential adversaries.”

The advanced L3Harris system is designed to offer an integrated electronic support measure and electronic attack system, enabling efficient threat detection across all relevant radio frequency bands. This system incorporates a modular open systems approach and open mission systems compliant design, enabling the fleet to conveniently integrate new and upgraded technology, resulting in time and cost savings. 

L3Harris was contracted in 2020 for the production of the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet EW system, winning a $104m award for Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures jammer systems, but the electronic attack capabilities of the F/A-18 are outstripped by the EA-18G Growler. 

The EA-18G Growler is a variant within the F/A-18 family of aircraft that incorporates the well-established F/A-18F Super Hornet platform along with an advanced EW suite. The Growler is equipped with an electronic attack system that includes a dedicated Electronic Attack Unit, a modified EA-6B Improved Capabilities ALQ-218 receiver system, and Legacy ALQ-99 jamming pods. 

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