A pod-mounted airborne electronic warfare system, the AN/ALQ-131(V) is principally a radar jammer, but also has capabilities as a radar warning receiver and electronics warfare control system. It is of 1990s vintage, undergoing a Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) for the A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and C-130 Hercules of 13 countries; over 1,600 units have been deployed. It was a standard jammer in Operation DESERT STORM and NATO Balkan operations.
The device contains multiple transmitters and radars operating in three frequency bands. Depending on the nature of the threat, multiple transmitters can be "stacked" onto a high-power theat. Jamming modes are adjusted to the nature of the transmitter, including both continuous wave and pulse radars.
(V) in its designation indicates that it is modular, with a variety of subcomponents that interconnect in its Interface Control Unit (ICU) computer. The computer proper is a militarized version of a COTS commercial processor. As part of the MLU, more and more interconnection uses the MIL-STD-1553 common military electronic interconnection bus.
While the pod has some autonomous capability, it is normally directed by a control panel in the cockpit, or by a more intelligent electronics countermeasures suite controller, the AN/ALQ-213, either of which connect to the ICU. It can also take target designation from an AN/ALR-69 radar warning and locating receiver; the AN/ALR-69 can be networked among several aircraft to triangulate the position of a threat and help optimize jamming.
On the ground, an AN/ALM-256 connects to the ICU, for maintenance testing and for reprogramming.
Depending on the model, the ALQ-131 has two or three modular jamming transmitters, and two or three modular receiving transmitters, which can be selected for the most likely frequency bands on which threats are expected.