Upgrade Time: The Air Force May Give the F-16 New Radar Fire Controls

January 12, 2020 Topic: Technology Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: F-16RadarRadar Fire ControlF-22F-35U.S. Air Force

Upgrade Time: The Air Force May Give the F-16 New Radar Fire Controls

Worth a billion dollars?

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – U.S. Air Force aerial radar experts are ordering hundreds of modern active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for F-16 jet fighter aircraft under terms of a seven-year order announced last month worth more than a billion dollars.


Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Fighter Bomber Directorate, F-16 Division, at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, announced a $1 billion order on 19 Dec. to the Northrop Grumman Corp. Mission Systems segment in Linthicum Heights, Md., for as many as 372 AN/APG-83 AESA radar systems for the F-16.

The APG-83 AESA fire-control scalable agile-beam radar (SABR) integrates within the F-16’s structural, power, and cooling constraints without Group A aircraft modification, Northrop Grumman officials say. The company leverages technology developed for the APG-77 and APG-81 radar systems on the U.S. F-22 and F-35 combat aircraft.

This order is a modification to a $243.9 million Air Force contract to Northrop Grumman in May 2017 for 72 APG-83 radars, spare parts, and support services.

In a 2013 competition, Lockheed Martin Corp., the F-16 manufacturer, selected the APG-83 as the AESA radar for the F-16 modernization and update programs of the U.S. Air Force and Taiwan air force.

The bandwidth, speed, and agility of AESA radars enable legacy fighter aircraft like the F-16 to detect, track, and identify many targets quickly and at long ranges, and to operate in hostile electronic warfare (EW) environments.

Northrop Grumman is building APG-83 radar systems for global F-16 upgrades and new aircraft production, as well as for the U.S. Air National Guard. Northrop Grumman also has installed a production APG-83 SABR on a U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet jet fighter-bomber, company officials say.

This article by John Keller originally appeared on Military & Aerospace Electronics in 2019.

Image: Reuters.