The Royal Air Force of Oman is ordering advanced defensive electronic systems to protect its F-16 fighter jets. The latest $47.5 million contract to ITT corporation of Clifton, New Jersey will see up to 15 AN/ALQ-211(V), 4 Airborne Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDEWS) along with 2 sets of antenna couplers procured by the end of 2014.
The AN/ALQ-211(V) family of electronic protection/defensive countermeasure product comprise the internally carried AN/ALQ-211(V)4 and an external pod version designated AN/ALQ-211(V)9. Both versions are marketed as Airborne Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDEWS) employing state-of-the-art Digital Radio Frequency Memory DRFM functionality. According to Australia Defence Science and Technology Organisation, “they integrate a radar warning receiver to detect and identify advanced air-to-surface and air-to-air RF threat weapons systems and to generate effective self-protection responses against them”. Exelis which now incorporates ITT Corporation explains how the AN/ALQ-211 automatically controls every aspects of the tactical contingency in any high threat environment; “when the aircrew encounters a threat emission (referring to Radio Frequency, Infra Red or Laser), the ALQ-211 establishes the threat range from the mission aircraft. If an aircraft is in lethal range of the threat, the ALQ-211 initiates an integrated instantaneous response, breaking missile lock through RF countermeasures, and cues the use of chaff and flares”.
Although the internally carried system has seen wide employment aboard Block 50/52 F-16, the pod-based application has generally provided add-on advanced defensive capabilities for earlier variants F-16 (A and B models) as well as legacy fighter aircraft (Dassault Mirage, Saab). These systems have also been deployed by other F-16 operators including Chile, Poland, Pakistan and Turkey. Typically the AIDEWS version would integrate Radar Warning Receiver, Electronic Warfare System, Advanced Mode IV Identification Friend or Foe systems, ALE-50 Fiber Optic towed decoy and AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispensing System CMDS coupled to RR-170 self-protection chaff and MJU-7B self protection flares.
The Oman Royal Air Force which has acquired 12 Block 50/52 aircraft initially ordered in 2001. A more recent 2011 order for another 12 Block 50/52 F-16 testified of the maturing operational capabilities of that small air force. The Oman Royal Air Force operational requirements issued in 2010 include the potent multi mode APG-68(V)9 radar, the AN/ARC-238 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems SINGCARS and HAVE QUICK I/II line-of-sight radios, Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems, GPS and Embedded-GPS/Inertial Navigation Systems INS, AN/AAQ-33 SNIPER Targeting Pods and DB-110 Reconnaissance Pods (RECCE). By expanding the operational envelope of its F-16 by adding conformal fuel tanks and introducing Increased Performance F100-PW-229 or F110-GE-129 Engines, the Oman Royal Air Force will be capable to conduct long range missions as well as survive the most lethal threats environment.