F-15s Clear the Way for F-35s During USAF Coordinated Electronic Attack Tests

The F-35 Lightning II participated in several tests during the Northern Edge 21 exercise 4 photos
Photo: U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Savanah Bray
F-15 Eagles and Strike Eagles at Northern Edge 21An F-15C Eagle at Northern Edge 21An F-35 Lightning II at Northern Edge 21
Military aircraft or warships are always praised for what they can do on an individual level, but we don’t often hear about how one type of aircraft can support and benefit another, in different combat scenarios.
Well, it turns out that, during operations, an F-15EX Eagle II could use its Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) to make way for an F-35A Lightning II, increasing its chances of successfully attacking the enemy.

Northern Edge 21, the complex war game that recently took place in Alaska, provided the perfect setting for performing tests on a realistic scale. The 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron (422 TES), from the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, conducted several tests centered around the F-35, one of them being the “fourth-to-fifth” exchange of electronic attack tactics and procedures.

This means that fourth-generation aircraft, like the F-15, and fifth-generation platforms, like the F-35, could use each other’s assets to gain advantage over the enemy. According to Maj. Scott Portue, 422 TES F-35 pilot, fifth-gen. aircraft are stealthier, which means they can get closer to the enemy, but fourth-gen. ones have the benefit of specific electronic weapons, like the EPAWSS.

During the tests, the EPAWSS on the F-15 was used to create clutter and extra jamming (signal interference), so that the F-35 operating around the same time would be able to get even closer to the enemy, without being detected by sensors and without having to use its own radars. In any combat scenario, electronic countermeasures, like the ones the EPAWSS provides, can confuse enemy sensors, which then won’t be able to detect the incoming enemy aircraft (in this case, the F-35).

Developed by BAE Systems, this new electronic warfare suite combines various sensors and intelligent algorithms, for radar warnings, situational awareness and self-protection. The production phase for EPAWSS began this year, after an initial test at the end of last year.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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