An estimated US$24.6 billion will be spent on the development and production of major electronic warfare (EW) programmes over the next 10 years, according to Forecast International’s “The Market for Electronic Warfare Systems” analysis.
Some 35,702 electronic countermeasures (ECM), radar warning receivers (RWRs), electronic support measures (ESM), and other EW systems will be produced from 2011-2020. “The counter-IED effort and the market for its various systems will especially warrant close monitoring in the years to come,” says Andrew Dardine, Forecast International Electronic Warfare Analyst.
“With the surge of US troops into Afghanistan, there has been a corresponding proliferation in the use of IEDs. Major contracts are likely to be awarded for rapid procurement and deployment to troops in the field, as well as for RDT&E of new techniques.” Still, the production of counter-IED systems is only one part of the EW picture, and defense manufacturers will be busy fulfilling demand for a wide variety of systems. This analysis states that the top-ranked EW system producers in the next decade will be Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Raytheon, ITT, and Lockheed Martin.
The next several years will see steady production of Northrop Grumman’s APG-81 EW-capable radar for the F-35 and the AAQ?24 Directed Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) and Large Aircraft IRCM (LAIRCM) systems for an international clientele. The Pentagon plans to spend well over US$1 billion through FY15 on LAIRCM procurement for various Air Force aircraft. Last year, the US Navy’s Advanced Tactical Aircraft Protection Systems Program Office purchased LAIRCM for the Marines Corps’ CH-53E Sea Stallion aircraft.
Northrop Grumman is also one of four companies (the others being BAE Systems, ITT, and Raytheon) awarded firm-fixed-price contracts to conduct research toward development of innovative concept solutions at the system level that address Next-Generation Jammer (NGJ) requirements.
Leading aircraft self-protection and warning systems help keep BAE Systems among the top producers of EW technology. Among these, the AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System (CMWS), the ALQ-212 Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM) system, and the ALE-55 Fiber-optic Towed Decoy (FOTD) system will provide US$2.2 billion of the company’s total market share, according to this analysis. Like Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems is heavily invested in the development of the NGJ.
In June last year, the Pentagon awarded BAE Systems a US$30.9 million modification to a previously awarded contract for low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the ALE-55 for U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18E/F aircraft. ITT is well positioned to be a major player in the NGJ program and has already taken a decisive lead in the all-important, counter-IED effort. This advantage is the result, in part, of years of success in providing proven, widely deployed EW systems like the ALQ-211 Suite of Integrated RF Countermeasures/Advanced Integrated Defensive EW Suite (SIRFC/AIDEWS).
Also on the counter-IED front, the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command in December 2010 exercised the third option of a $29 million Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (JCREW) 3.3 contract, awarding ITT the contract to develop this next-generation counter-IED system. JCREW 3.3 is planned to enable the networking of several jammers to address threats in a more streamlined way. Versions will include man-portable, vehicle mounted, and fixed site (for installations such as military bases) that all work together to prevent the detonation of IEDs. ITT will develop all three capabilities under this contract.