NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – L3Harris Technologies executives said the company will reach a development milestone for its Viper Shield electronic warfare package this month and production is on track for 2025.

L3Harris is developing Viper Shield, a collection of digital protection and countermeasures for installation on Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70/72 jets sold to foreign militaries. More than a dozen countries were planning to use the variants when the company was first hired for the work.

The upcoming milestone, known as “Drop 3,” signifies the initial capability of a radar warning receiver, meaning the system can detect emissions from enemy radar.

“Winning in the next fight is not just about what you can do platform by platform. It’s about taking advantage of all the data that exists and doing it in real time or near real time,” Jen Lewis, president of advanced combat systems at L3Harris, told C4ISRNET on the sidelines of the Association of Old Crows conference in Maryland. The company announced this year that Viper Shield had passed a separate review involving Lockheed and the Air Force.

“I think we’re really ahead of the game here in terms of how to approach the electromagnetic spectrum operations and data problem,” Lewis added.

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Airplanes must navigate environments teeming with radars, missiles and other threats. It is crucial to penetrate or overcome these defense mechanisms. Both Russia and China have built anti-access and area denial infrastructure to keep forces and weapons at bay that could otherwise be overwhelming.

The U.S. Department of Defense is prioritizing advanced EW tools as it transitions from smaller counterinsurgency battles in the Middle East and prepares for larger, high-tech battles planned for the future.

“The democratization of technology has allowed adversaries to develop things relatively quickly. As a nation, we have become comfortable with being superior in this area. But again, when your playbook is on display, people become smarter about how to combat it,” said Paul DeLia, director of strategy development at L3Harris. “I am very excited about the revival of electronic warfare. It’s a necessary bullet in the gun, so to speak, to be successful in the next conflict.”

According to the Defense News Top 100 analysis, L3Harris is the ninth largest contractor in the world by defense revenue. The company earned nearly $14 billion in 2022.

Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration—particularly the Cold War cleanup and the development of nuclear weapons—for a South Carolina newspaper. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

Source : www.defensenews.com

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