F/A-18 Hornet Upgrade — AIR 5376 Phase 2


Prime Contractors: The DMO is the prime systems integrator of elements provided by:
The Boeing Company (US) – for the avionics and electronic warfare self protection upgrade
The USN – for aircraft software integration and radar warning receiver acquisition
SAAB (Sweden) – for supplementary countermeasures dispensing systems
Elta (Israel) – for active radio frequency electronic counter measures systems
Elbit Systems Limited (Israel) – for Hornet Data Recorder
Boeing Defence Australia - for production installation of the electronic warfare self protection suite of modifications.

2010/2011 spend: $107 million

This phase of this project is upgrading the Air Force’s F/A-18 fleet to incorporate avionics enhancements that will improve mission situational awareness, radar and electronic warfare capabilities. It will also deliver an upgraded ground simulator training capability.
Fleet modification of the pilot situational awareness avionics upgrade was completed in late 2008. An interim electronic warfare capability, which introduced the radar warning receiver into service, was also delivered in late 2008. The mature aircraft electronic warfare modification program commenced in May 2009 and is progressing close to schedule. A contract for the acquisition of the new Hornet Data Recorder was awarded in September 2009. All other major acquisition contracts for procurement of equipment to support the supplementary countermeasure and electronic countermeasure capabilities are in place.


In 2010, the supplementary countermeasures dispensing system will be introduced into service and the mission computer software required to operate the electronic countermeasures system will be delivered. The new electronic counter measures pods deliveries will commence in 2011.
The key risks for the mature aircraft electronic warfare modification program relate to the development and integration of aircraft and system software, as the systems have not previously been integrated and installed in other F/A-18 Hornet fleets. The primary strategy to alleviate the software risks is an iterative development and testing regime, which draws on USN subject matter experts and embedding Australian project team members at the USN software development and testing facility. This strategy enables the early identification of any integration issues. The project is in the final stage of the flight test program and technical integration risks are being reduced.
 

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