In today's complex battlespace, F-16 aircrews rely on seamless system coordination to anticipate and counter threats with speed and precision.
L3Harris' advanced Viper Shield electronic warfare (EW) suite is proving it's more than up to that challenge.
During the Drop 2 integration event at Lockheed Martin’s Systems Integration Lab, Viper Shield demonstrated full radio frequency compatibility with the F-16's on-board APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.
The testing included continuously exposing Viper Shield with APG-83 energy for more than 12 hours to test whether the radar pulses would interfere with EW functionality. The test proved Viper Shield’s ability to filter out signal processing streams from the APG-83 radar pulses without any performance compromise.
In short, Viper Shield passed the test and demonstrated seamless interoperability, which means the customer will enter the battlespace protected by most advanced EW and radar capabilities available.
"Situational awareness is essential to mission success, especially in highly dynamic and unpredictable situations," said Patrick Creighton, Vice President and General Manager, of L3Harris Electronic Defensive Solutions. "When these two systems work in concert, they're able to effectively detect and protect against threats like never before."
The Drop 2 event marked the second interoperability test for the two systems; the first took place in mid-2022, with similarly successful results.
"These tests continue to highlight Viper Shield's advanced capabilities and ability to integrate smoothly with the F-16's on-board systems," Creighton said. "That all adds up to more effective missions for decades to come."
Viper Shield’s success is already spreading worldwide, with multiple international partners already committed to the system with many more air services around the globe engaged in discussions on Viper Shield as well.
Detect and protect: More on the Viper Shield
Introduced in 2021, Viper Shield EW is custom-designed to provide protection and offensive EW capabilities on the fourth-generation Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70/72 multirole aircraft. Software-defined technology components create a virtual electronic shield around the aircraft, revealing digital radar threats and providing robust countermeasure capabilities in a fully integrated, internally mounted system.
With lower lifecycle costs, easier upgrades, increased reliability and reduced weight, Viper Shield sets a new industry standard as the highest-performing, lowest-risk and most cost-effective EW system for advanced F-16s.
The Viper Shield capability is also available to be configured in a pod solution for roll-on/roll-off capabilities. All Viper Shield configurations, internal and pod, use identical Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) and therefore provide the same level of advanced performance on all platforms. The common LRUs also help to ensure fleet logistics and operational availability. The common hardware solution set reduces program life-cycle costs and improves operational availability since all LRUs can be interchanged across all platforms, including pod platforms.