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Contracts - Awards | ECM | Heavy Bombers | Lockheed Martin | Other Corporation | Project Failures | Support Functions - Other | USA

B-1’s Defensive Avionics Getting New Guts

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B-1B Lancer(click to view full) The AN/ALQ-161A Defensive Avionics System on the B-1B bomber is supposed to identify, acquire, and defeat enemy radars and missiles. It was to be a very sophisticated jamming system, with 360-degree receive and jamming coverage plus a Tail Warning Function (TWF) to check six. The Electronic Counter-Measures (ECM) system would sort threats by priority and react against them automatically, even recognizing when it might be dangerous to use ECM and limiting its jamming to specific directions for the minimum required time. The system had very serious technical problems during its development, however, resulting in 2 full-scale recovery programs, over $1 billion invested in fixes, and an acknowledgment that the ALQ-161 would never really meet its original performance specifications. The system was fielded in the mid-1980s in the Mod 0 hardware configuration, and several software modifications have improved system performance since then – most recently in the very successful B-1B Block C upgrades. Of course, software and hardware are symbiotes. A series of recent contracts indicate that the AN/ALQ-161’s hardware may also be headed for some improvements: Contracts & Key Events March 9/07: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Owego, NY received a $22.1 million firm-fixed-price contract to […]

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