BAE Systems said on Apr. 3 that it has received $491 million from Lockheed Martin

[LMT] to build AN/ASQ-239 electronic warfare systems for Block 4 F-35s in Lot 17.

On Dec. 30 last year, Lockheed Martin said that the F-35 Joint Program Office and the company had finalized a Lot 15-16 contract that may be worth $30 billion to build and deliver up to 398 F-35s domestically and internationally–145 aircraft for Lot 15, 127 for Lot 16, and up to 126 for the Lot 17 contract option, including the first F-35 aircraft for Belgium, Finland and Poland (Defense Daily, Jan. 10). Those lots are to include Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3), powered by the L3Harris [LHX] integrated core processor.

F-35 program officials have described TR-3 as  the computer “backbone” for Block 4, which is to have 88 unique features and integrate 16 new weapons on the F-35, which became operational in July 2015.

BAE Systems said that future deliveries of the Block 4 AN/ASQ-239 in Lot 17 will add to 1,200 of the EW systems that the company has delivered thus far for the F-35. The company builds the AN/ASQ-239 in Nashua and Manchester, N.H.

“The Block 4 EW systems will include significantly upgraded hardware and software that improves sensing and signal-processing capabilities,” per BAE Systems. “New, high-performance sensors will boost the system’s ability to detect difficult-to-observe threats and more threats simultaneously.”

Lisa Aucoin, BAE Systems’ vice president of F-35 solutions, said in the BAE Systems’ Apr. 3 statement that the Block 4 AN/ASQ-239 “will offer greater situational awareness, enhanced survivability and increased capabilities to counter modern threats, and is upgradable to address evolving threats.”

A developmental test team from the 461st Flight Test Squadron at Edwards AFB, Calif., flew a TR-3 configured F-35A–the instrumented flight test aircraft AF-7–for the first time on Jan. 6 above the Mojave Desert, and such TR-3 test flights have continued, the F-35 program has said.