Air National Guard first to fly with fifth gen radar | World Defense

Air National Guard first to fly with fifth gen radar


Sep 2, 2019
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Air National Guard F-16s First To Fly Fifth-Gen Radar
The radar upgrade is aimed at countering Russian cruise missiles.
By THERESA HITCHENSon January 09, 2020 at 4:58 PM

WASHINGTON: The Air Force National Guard’s 72 aircraft will be the first US F-16 fighters to field Northrop Grumman’s new fifth-generation radar system.
The radar upgrade, a Northern Command requirement, is aimed directly at countering Russian cruise missiles.
“The Air National Guard is fielding the AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) first in response to a United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) Joint Emergent Operational Need,” the company said in response to Breaking D’s questions today. The AN/APG-83 is modeled after the radars equipping both the F-22 and the F-35, Northrop Grumman told Breaking D.
“The greater bandwidth, speed and agility of the APG-83 enables the F-16 to detect, track and identify a greater number of targets faster and at longer ranges. In addition, it features all-weather, high-resolution synthetic aperture radar mapping to present the pilot with a large surface image for more precise target identification and strike compared to legacy systems,” according to a company announcement today.
“The APG-83 radar provides unprecedented, active electronically scanned array (AESA) targeting and fire control capabilities to the F-16 fleet to ensure the superior effectiveness of the Air National Guard’s mission,” said Mark Rossi, Northrop Grumman’s director for SABR programs, said.
While the company is under contract to provide the radar to Bahrain, Greece, Korea, Indonesia, Morocco, Singapore and Taiwan, the active duty Air Force’s F-16s have yet to be upgraded. In August, the State Department approved the potential sale of 66 new F-16s, also equipped with the AN/APG to Taiwan with a price tag of $8 billion, which would bring the number of Fighting Falcons in Taipei’s fleet to 211.
The Air Force plans to equip the rest of the fleet with AESA radar by 2025, as reported by colleague John Tirpak back in October. A Teal Group report, part of its “World Military & Civil Aircraft Briefing,” says the service estimates that it costs $3.2 million per aircraft to install an integrated AESA radar system.
“The fiscal year 2020 defense budget signed into law in December included additional funding to begin outfitting U.S Air Force active duty F-16s in the near future,” according to Northrop Grumman.
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included an extra $75,000 for additional AESA radar, bringing the total funding for the program up to just below $310 million. Congressional appropriators concurred in the 2020 defense spending bill. Both bills were signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 20.
The latest milestone for the Northrop Grumman comes after it nailed a $1 billion contract for development and production of up to 372 AESA radar for the F-16 Fighting Falcon fleet. The contract, announced Dec. 19, is being managed by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Fighter Bomber Directorate, F-16 Division, Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio.