F-15 aircraft

The US Air Force (USAF) has successfully completed the first flight of the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter aircraft upgraded with the new APG-82(V)1 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system.

Around 47 F-15E fighter aircraft belonging to the 389th and 391st Fighter Squadrons are scheduled to be fitted with the radar by 2017.

The modification process is being undertaken by Boeing representatives as part of the radar modernisation programme (RMP).

389th Fighter Squadron pilot captain Matthew Riley said: "The new radar system does everything faster, is extremely precise and requires less maintenance.

"It can designate air-to-air and air-to-ground simultaneously, allowing us to track enemy aircraft and identify ground targets at the same time."

366th Fighter Wing avionics manager said master sergeant Jennifer Schildgen said: "The old radar system is hydraulic, has moving parts and requires three maintainers to perform repairs after every 30 flight hours.

"The new radar system is a beam scan, doesn’t have any moving parts and is projected to only require one maintainer to perform repairs after more than 2,000 flight hours."

"The radar is claimed to provide longer range air-to-air target detection and enhanced track capabilities."

The USAF F-15E Strike Eagle currently features the Raytheon-built APG-70 mechanically scanned array radar.

Manufactured by Boeing, the new radar system is designed to retain functionality of the old legacy radar system, while providing expanded mission employment capabilities, according to the USAF’s first RMP report.

Specifically, the radar is claimed to provide longer range air-to-air target detection and enhanced track capabilities, enhanced air-to-air and air-to-ground classified combat identification capabilities, longer range and higher resolution air-to-ground radar mapping, and improved ground moving target track capability, among others.

The RMP upgrade also includes the addition of a wideband radome, modified environment control system and modified radio frequency tunable filters.

Image: A USAF F-15 Strike Eagle aircraft in flight over RAF Lakenheath, UK. Photo: courtesy of Gerry Metzler.

Defence Technology