F-16 aircraft

Northrop Grumman’s scalable agile beam radar (SABR) has been competitively selected by Lockheed Martin for the US and Taiwan air force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar modernisation and upgrade programmes.

The radar is now scheduled to be fitted by Lockheed in USAF’s F-16 C/D fighters to enhance their reliability and add advanced capabilities as part of the aircraft’s combat avionics programmed extension suite (CAPES) upgrade programme.

Northrop Grumman ISR and Targeting Systems Division vice-president and general manager Joseph Ensor said the selection is based on the radar’s affordability, proven performance, and low risk nature.

”SABR will provide F-16s unprecedented operational capability, greater reliability and viability in threat environments beyond 2025," Esnor said.

"SABR will provide F-16s unprecedented operational capability, greater reliability and viability in threat environments beyond 2025."

"The F-16 has been a front-line fighter for the Air Force for more than 30 years, and SABR will keep it there for decades to come.”

Lockheed Martin F-16/F-22 Integrated Fight Group vice-president and general manager Roderick McLean said, "This next generation radar will deliver unprecedented capabilities to the most widely used 4th generation fighter ever flown."

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By GlobalData

Northrop competed against the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) for the contract, Reuters reports.

A multifunction active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, SABR is designed to provide F-16 pilots with longer detection and tracking ranges, high-resolution search-and-rescue maps for all-environment precision targeting, interleaved mode operations for enhanced situational awareness and reliability in the battlefield.

Featuring hardware and software commonality with the F-22 Raptor’s APG-77 and F-35 APG-81 radars, SABR is expected to offer several benefits for both the air force and Lockheed as pilots moving from one airframe to another will be familiar with many of the displays.

Work on the F-16 AESA radar programme is scheduled to be carried out at Northrop’s Electronic Systems sector headquarters facility in Linthicum, US.

Image: A USAF’s F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft during its flight. Photo: courtesy of master sgt. Andy Dunaway.

Defence Technology