Taiwan F-16

Northrop Grumman has secured a contract from Lockheed Martin to start production of its APG-83 scalable agile beam radar (SABR).

The agreement requires Northrop Grumman to manufacture and supply 142 radars as part of the Taiwan Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon radar upgrade programme.

The radar successfully completed all design reviews, including systems requirement review, a hardware preliminary design review, as well as software and hardware critical design reviews in 2014.

Northrop Grumman combat avionics systems business unit vice-president Jeff Leavitt said: "The maturity of SABR’s design, coupled with our very experienced radar team, enabled us to bring all design reviews to a successful completion less than one year after the contract was awarded.

"The experience we have gained providing the radar for every F-16 in service, as well as for the F-22 and F-35, was invaluable in getting us to this point and will continue to guide us as we move toward production."

"The maturity of SABR’s design enabled Northrop Grumman to bring all design reviews to a successful completion less than one year after the contract was awarded."

Lockheed selected SABR for the US and Taiwan’s F-16 radar modernisation and upgrade programmes in July 2013.

The APG-83 SABR is a multi-function, active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire control radar designed to bring fifth-generation air-to-air and air-to-ground radar capability to the F-16 fighters.

Specifically, the radar will 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 on the battlefield.

SABR is a direct replacement for legacy F-16 radars. It features hardware and software commonality with the F-22 Raptor’s APG-77 and F-35 APG-81 radars. The radar also has a unique design that enables ease of retrofit, without aircraft structural modifications or changes to the F-16’s existing power and cooling systems.

First production system under contract is scheduled to be handed over to Lockheed in 2016.

Image: Northrop is set to begin production of APG-83 scalable agile beam radar for the Taiwan Air Force F-16 upgrade programme. Photo: courtesy of Al Jazeera English.