Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II BF-4 aircraft has completed its first mission systems test flight equipped with Northrop Grumman’s new APG-81 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

During the first flight test, APG-81 successfully tracked long-range targets at all aspect angles, and radar and electronic warfare fusion were also observed.

The APG-81 radar is equipped with block 0.5 radar software, which includes 60% of the radar software to be delivered, and provides long-range air-to-air search and track, and SAR modes capabilities.

The APG-81 radar has previously been used to detect airborne targets on F-16 and F-18 chase planes.

During the test, the F-35 was also equipped with an electro-optical distributed aperture system, which provides passive missile and aircraft threat detection as well as infra-red day and night vision which is projected directly onto the pilot’s helmet visor.

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