Lockheed Martin's helicopter-based advanced off-board electronic warfare (AOEW) system has passed the US Navy's preliminary design review on schedule.

The AOEW Active Mission Payload (AMP) AN/ALQ-248 system demonstrated significant sustained performance, and is expected to integrate the US Navy’s MH-60 helicopters with improved electronic warfare surveillance and countermeasure capabilities against anti-ship missile (ASM) threats.

Lockheed Martin electronic warfare programme director Joe Ottaviano said: “The battlefield at sea is constantly changing.

“Our AOEW capabilities will give the US Navy a powerful tool to detect threats and respond to our adversaries.”

The AOEW AMP AN/ALQ-248 system is a self-contained electronic warfare pod hosted by an MH-60R or MH-60S aircraft, which provides the navy with advanced ASM detection and response capabilities.

It has the capability to either function independently or in collaboration with the vessel’s onboard electronic surveillance sensor, known as the surface electronic warfare improvement programme (SEWIP) Block 2 AN/SLQ-32(V)6.

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The Lockheed Martin system can also detect the presence of an incoming missile and determine its direction.

The missile detection system uses radio frequency countermeasure techniques to intercept the missile.

"The AOEW AMP AN/ALQ-248 system is a self-contained electronic warfare pod hosted by an MH-60R or MH-60S aircraft, which provides the navy with advanced ASM detection and response capabilities."

Construction of the AOEW systems is slated to commence in Syracuse, New York, early next year.

The company’s team in Owego, New York, will deploy the system onto the MH-60 aircraft, which are set to be constructed by Lockheed Martin's subsidiary Sikorsky.

Lockheed Martin was initially awarded the AOEW contract on 23 December. The company will deliver up to 18 AOEW AMP AN/ALQ-248 pods to the navy if all options are exercised.

The US Navy has also awarded a $42m contract to the company to oversee the system's design and development phases.

Image: Lockheed Martin’s AOEW AMP AN/ALQ-248 system, a pod hosted on an MH-60R or MH-60S, will enhance the way the US Navy detects and responds to anti-ship missile threats. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin.