Rockwell contracted to evaluate B-1B EW.
Rockwell International's North American Aircraft Division (El Segundo, CA) will evaluate candidate systems to improve the B-1B's electronic countermeasures (ECM) capability. The evaluation will be part of an effort to prepare for an upgrade to the bomber's conventional war-fighting capabilities. Rockwell received $15.4 million of a 12-month, $65.2 million cost-plus-award-fee contract from the Air Force August 30. A follow-on engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract is expected to follow the completion of the present pact.
In addition to studying ECM enhancements to improve the capabilities now provided by the ALQ-161A, Rockwell will examine the integration of Global Positioning System capability, an anti-jam radio, computer upgrades and a B-1B/Joint Direct Attack Munition-I capability.
Rockwell's look at B-1B ECM follows a similar effort recently conducted at the Air Force's request by Electro-Radiation Inc. (Fairfield, NJ). Results of the Electro-Radiation study have not been released.
The upgrade to the ALQ-161 may be the biggest EW program up for grabs in the next few years. Consequently, most of the giants in the EW field have lined up in various formations to pursue any contract that may result from Rockwell's effort. For example, ITT has touted its Enhanced ALQ-172 in combination with a missile warner such as the ALQ-153. Meanwhile, TRW and Raytheon have teamed to offer a combination of B-1B line replaceable unit (Raytheon) and INEWS (TRW) expertise. Lockheed Sanders, with its own INEWS technology, should also be considered a strong candidate. Westinghouse (maker of the ALQ-153) and Hughes (with experience from the Navy's ALR-67 Advanced Special Receiver) also figure to be potential players, either alone or in combination with others. Finally, Northrop has already built jamming transmitters for the ALQ-161, and could offer a package such as the ALQ-135 linked with a receiver such as the ALR-56.
Loral has offered the ALR-56M as a candidate upgrade to the B-1B's suite in the past and therefore may make a bid for a piece of the program as well. Other receiver manufacturers such as Litton Applied Technology and IBM may look for a place on one or more bidding teams.
One company that has been relatively quiet in the commotion surrounding the upcoming effort is AIL Systems, producer of the incumbent ALQ-161. The company has stood by the beleaguered system throughout the life of the program, and should be expected to offer enhancements to the suite to meet any new requirements the Air Force may ask Rockwell to fill.
Exactly how Rockwell plans to tackle the problem remains unconfirmed, as a request for information remained in the company's internal approval cycle as this issue went to press. However, sources close to the program had earlier speculated the company would launch up to three risk-reduction efforts, from which a single solution would be chosen for engineering and manufacturing development.
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|Title Annotation:||EC Monitor; Rockwell International Corp.'s North American Operations Div.; B-1B bomber aircraft's electronic countermeasure capability|
|Publication:||Journal of Electronic Defense|
|Date:||Oct 1, 1993|
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