The scalable agile beam radar (SABR) equipped F-16 fighter aircraft has been successfully tested in the demonstration flights conducted by Northrop Grumman in cooperation with the US Air Force in support of an F-16 active electronically scanned array (AESA) feasibility study.

Northrop Grumman’s electronic systems advanced F-16 radar programme director Arlene Camp said this was the first time a retrofit AESA had ever flown in a legacy F-16 aircraft.

“This demonstration validated our goal of developing an AESA that can be easily installed on the flight line and integrated with existing power and cooling provisions of currently fielded F-16s,” she said.

“With regard to installed performance, SABR’s air-to-air and air-to-ground detection and tracking, and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mapping performance met or exceeded our predictions.”

SABR is an AESA radar that has been specifically designed for retrofit in current F-16s and other legacy fighter, attack and training aircraft.

The radar will provide the increased performance, multifunctionality and greater reliability inherent in AESA radars, compared with mechanically scanned array radars.

SABR also provides improved situational awareness, greater detection, high-resolution SAR maps, interleaved air-to-air and air-to-surface mode operations, and an all-environment precision strike capability.