A F-16 Block 52 Belonging To The Hellenic Air Force Configured With Conformal Fuel Tanks

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”.

The AN/ALQ-211 pod from ITT Corp

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.

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