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ALQ-214

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A joint U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force program is building an Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) system, initially for the F-18 Super Hornet and the B-1 Lancer aircraft; the Radio Frequency Countermeasures RFCM subsystem of the IDECM is the AN/ALQ-214 (V). The other part of the IDECM is the AN/ALE-55 towed fiber optic decoy.

IDECM, according to BaE Systems, breaks a traditional electronic warfare paradigm, which had split the mission into onboard coherent jammers and end-game-only towed repeaters. This paradigm was judged inadequate to threats including both home-on-jam and man-in-the-loop threat guidance. In the new model, in which the RFCM and decoy are under common control, the defense model has three parts:[1]

  1. Suppress enemy acquisition and tracking: deny, delay and degrade the enemy capability to find the protected aircraft
  2. Deceive guided missiles and fighter aircraft that do achieve tracking lock and launch
  3. Seduce the missiles that make it through the first and second parts, making the towed decoy more attractive than the electronically more modest aircraft

Architecture

In the ALQ-214 (V) designation, the (V) indicates the system is modular. It consists of a mounting rack, three preamplifiers, and up to five "Weapons Replaceable Assemblies (WRA)" (i.e., Line Replaceable Units):[2]

  • WRA-1 Receiver
  • WRA-2 Modulator
  • WRA-3 Processor
  • WRA-4 Low-band transmitter
  • WRA-5 High-band transmitter

WRA-1 through 3 are the "Techniques Generator" core.

For the Super Hornet, WRA-4 and -5 are optional; remember that Super Hornets may be teamed with an EF-18 Growler for active jamming. B-1's, however, would often need self-contained jamming as well as the towed decoy.

References