According to Bulgarian Military, a state-of-the-art electronic warfare (EW) system for F-16 fighters is expected to be ready for production within 2025. This system is designed to give jet fighters the ability to detect multiple enemies simultaneously, modernising the aircraft's capabilities and dramatically increasing pilot awareness.
The modernization of the "Falcon" does not stop
Foreign customers upgrading their F-16 fighters to the Block 70/72 version will see their aircraft equipped with the Viper Shield system, essentially a digital receiver that acts like a warning radar produced by the US-based L3Harris and detects radio signals from enemy targets.
This innovative electronic warfare package is expected to multiply the capabilities of the current F-16 analog system, since it is analog (rather than digital) and thus cannot detect more than one signal at a time. The digital architecture that forms the basis of the new Viper Shield system will provide the jet with the ability to detect multiple signals simultaneously, increasing the pilot's awareness many times over.
L3Harris has signed a contract to integrate 166 Viper Shield systems into foreign customers' F-16 aircraft that will be upgraded to Block 70/72.
"The system is designed to identify advanced radar systems, provide situational awareness and guarantee self-defence through electronic countermeasures. Armed with a digital receiver and transmission channels, it is developed specifically to address today's threats," a spokesman for the US defence company said.
Power Multiplier for the Greek F-16
The Greek Air Force, if it decides in the future to modernize its F-16C/D Block 50 aircraft to Block 70 standard, then we could have F-16s with the state-of-the-art Viper Shield system, the likes of which not even the American fighters have.
Of course, Americans are not fools. The US Air Force (UAF) has joined hands with defence firm Northrup Grumman to develop a separate electronic warfare system, similar but different from the Viper Shield, which will be integrated into the F-16 fighters of the US air fleet.
Either way, the Viper Shield system would undoubtedly add a lot of capability to the Greek aircraft and give the Icarians a big advantage, especially if Turkey fails to upgrade its own F-16 fleet to the Block 70 standard.