Viper Shield’s all-digital electronic warfare suite is custom designed for the Lockheed Martin advanced F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft. By providing a virtual electronic shield around the aircraft, it enables warfighters to complete missions safely in increasingly complex battlespace scenarios. (Image courtesy L3Harris)

The L3Harris Viper Shield EW System is designed to provide a virtual electronic shield that improves aircraft protection


January 30, 2023

MELBOURNE, Fla.—L3Harris Technologies recently achieved a critical design review (CDR) milestone for the Viper Shield electronic warfare (EW) system, expected to provide improved offensive and defensive EW capabilities for F-16 Block 70/72 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) aircraft, the company said in a release.

The AN/ALQ-254(V)1 Viper Shield successfully completed the CDR milestone with partner Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force observing. Designed as the baseline EW system on the new F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft, the system will provide a virtual electronic shield that improves aircraft protection through a multiple digital radio frequency, memory-based jamming system.

“Viper Shield is the highest-performance, lowest-risk EW option for F-16 Vipers in an increasingly dangerous world,” said Ed Zoiss, president, Space and Airborne Systems, L3Harris, in the release. “As the only EW system for these aircraft to successfully achieve this CDR milestone, we are one step closer to helping our global customers detect and defeat modern advanced threats.”

In late 2022, Viper Shield successfully demonstrated interoperability with the new APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar during testing at the Lockheed Martin Systems Integration Lab. Fully integrated and internally mounted, it features an open-systems architecture using commercial-off-the-shelf technology for easier future upgrades and lower lifecycle costs, according to the release.

L3Harris removed the need for U.S. government funding to develop the Viper Shield EW system for the F-16 Block 70/72 FMS aircraft by leveraging internal research and development investments and international commitments, the company said.

With the approach of the next critical milestone in the second quarter of 2023, Viper Shield will return to the Lockheed Martin Systems Integration Lab with newly integrated hardware and software to demonstrate full integration of the next planned increment of capabilities with the F-16 Block 70/72 FMS aircraft, according to L3Harris.

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