Northrop Grumman’s scalable agile beam radar (SABR) has successfully completed three major development and design reviews since its selection for the F-16 radar modernisation programme (RMP).
Carried out in collaboration with the F-16 original equipment manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, and the US Air Force (USAF), the reviews included a systems requirement review, a hardware preliminary design review, and a hardware critical design review.
Northrop Grumman Combat Avionics Systems business unit vice-president Jeff Leavitt said: "Thanks to our extensive experience with both the F-16 aircraft and AESA fire control radars and our risk-reducing investments in SABR, we were able to accomplish these three development milestones in just five months."
The company is currently producing several engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) systems, which are expected to be identical to future production units, for final integration and testing.
In July 2013, the SABR was selected by Lockheed for F-16 RMP, which will develop the new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the USAF’s combat avionics programmed extension suite (CAPES) and Taiwan F-16 retrofit programmes.
A multifunction 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 on the battlefield.
Featuring hardware and software commonality with the F-22 Raptor’s APG-77 and F-35 APG-81 radars, the radar 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.
The radar completed a series of demonstration flights in support of the USAF’s F-16 AESA feasibility study at Edwards Air Force Base in California, US, in 2010.
The first SABR EMD system is scheduled to be delivered to Lockheed in late 2014.
Image: A USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Photo: courtesy of Staff Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby.