Boeing has begun installing the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System, or EPAWSS, on the first two F-15Es at the company’s San Antonio facilities, Boeing announced.
“Forty-three F-15Es will receive EPAWSS” under the first low-rate production batch, Boeing said July 21. The EPAWSS “is also the electronic warfare system that will equip the F-15EX Eagle II,” it noted.
Low-rate initial production of EPAWSS began in March under a $58 million contract from Boeing to BAE Systems, which developed the electronic warfare and jamming suite. A second LRIP contract is expected this year, and full-rate production is expected in 2023.
The Air Force plans to fit up to 217 F-15Es with the EPAWSS. In addition, all the new F-15EXs are being manufactured with EPAWSS installed, but the system isn’t expected to achieve initial operational capability until 2025. The Air Force planned for 144 F-15EXs, but the House reduced the fiscal 2023 budget from a requested 24 airplanes to 18.
While the Air force won’t say much about the capabilities of EPAWSS, it’s designed to give the F-15 pilot a means to detect, locate, and jam enemy radar, while also deceiving the adversary about the F-15’s exact position and heading. It uses “multispectral sensors and countermeasures,” according to BAE fact sheets, as well as high-speed signal processing, microelectronics, and “intelligent algorithms to deliver fully-integrated radar warning, situational awareness, geo-location and self-protection capabilities.”
Boeing called the system a “transformational overhaul to the survivability of the F-15.”
The EPAWSS “makes the most of mission effectiveness and survivability for the F-15 in contested environments,” said Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president for F-15 programs. The system “further strengthens a highly capable, lethal aircraft.” He said the F-15E and EX have “proven they can perform across a large-force environment to penetrate advanced enemy air defenses and improve mission flexibility.”
The two initial F-15EX aircraft, which are simultaneously undergoing developmental and operational testing, flew with EPAWSS in Operation Northern Edge last year. Boeing called the exercises “highly contested and complex,” and lessons learned from the war games “set the stage for future incremental improvements” in the system. Subsequent flight tests and exercises were run in October 2021 and February 2022.
Sources said the improved version of EPAWSS would kick in around the 60th installation; and that previous jets would be upgraded to the new configuration.