BAE Systems Begins Production of F-15 EPAWSS Electronic Warfare System

BAE Systems has announced that it has been contracted by Boeing to begin low rate initial production of its Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System. The $58 million contract follows the successful completion of extensive flight and ground tests alongside intensive technology demonstrations. 

“The start of EPAWSS production marks a critical milestone and is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our industry team,” said Jerry Wohletz, vice president and general manager of Electronic Combat Solutions at BAE Systems. “Our technology is cutting-edge, our factories are world-class, and our people are innovative and mission-focused.”

An F-15E from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, equipped with EPAWSS sensors in fairings at the base of its tailfins, refuels from a KC-46 over the Nevada Test and Training Range on November 17, 2020 for Large Force Test Event 20.03. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt Savanah Bray)

EPAWSS is an all-digital electronic warfare system designed for the F-15 family of aircraft. BAE Systems says that it brings together multispectral sensors and countermeasures, industry-leading signal processing, microelectronics, and intelligent algorithms, providing F-15 crews with “fully integrated radar warning, situational awareness, geolocation, and self-protection capabilities”. 

EPAWSS continues to receive incremental software updates from BAE Systems throughout the system’s engineering and manufacturing development phrase, adding new geolocation and threat identification capabilities. According to BAE Systems, the continuous upgrades allow for further performance gains, both in flight and ground tests on the aircraft, and in hardware-in-the-loop (HiTL) tests in signal-dense environments at the U.S. Air Force’s Integrated Demonstrations and Applications Laboratory.

An F-15E Eagle is suspended from the ceiling at the Benefield Anechoic Facility during its first phase of testing of the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) at Edwards Air Force Base, California, May 8, 2019. (Ethan “Evac” Wagner/US Air Force)

“I’m proud of the overall team for their incredible effort on this program,” said F-15 EPAWSS program manager Lt Col Dan Carroll. “The LRIP milestone is the culmination of years of hard work by a lot of great people within the government and our Boeing and BAE Systems industry partners. EPAWSS will significantly improve the survivability and utility of the F-15, and will be a great complement to what is already a very capable and lethal aircraft.”

BAE Systems says that it has invested $100 million in “world class” laboratories and manufacturing facilities in anticipation of the beginning of LRIP, in addition to expanding its EW workforce. EPAWSS will be first fielded on the US Air Force’s F-15E Strike Eagles, and will be standard equipment on the F-15EX. F-15Cs were originally planned to receive the upgrade as well, however plans were abandoned owing to the advanced age of their airframes.