Northrop adopts Lean-Agile methods for F-16 AESA radar software development

July 15, 2021 (Last Updated July 15th, 2021 16:58)

The company achieved the Lean-Agile transition in partnership with the USAF development teams at Hill AFB and Eglin AFB.

Northrop adopts Lean-Agile methods for F-16 AESA radar software development
A Northrop Grumman test aircraft equipped with Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-83 SABR radar. Credit: Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Northrop Grumman has adopted Lean-Agile methods in the development of the active electronically scanned array (AESA) AN/APG-83 scalable agile beam radar (SABR) software for the F-16 Viper aircraft.

The company achieved the Lean-Agile transition in collaboration with the USAF development teams at Hill AFB, Eglin AFB and Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (AATC).

Northrop Grumman SABR programmes director Mark Rossi said: “With this collaborative relationship, we are now able to deliver software updates to be tested on the F-16 in weeks instead of the months it would have taken using the traditional waterfall method.

“Agile software development allows us to rapidly and affordably deliver capabilities to our customers, keeping F-16 operators ahead of their adversaries for decades to come.”

The AN/APG-83 features all-weather synthetic aperture radar mapping function and hardware and incorporates advanced operating modes from the company’s fifth- F-35 AN/APG-81 and F-22 AN/APG-77 AESA radars.

These capabilities allow the pilot to more accurately identify and hit targets than legacy systems.

According to the company, the AN/APG-83 is an official programme of record for both the USAF’s active, Guard and Reserve components.

The USAF has achieved initial readiness needs for SABR to meet the US Northern Command Joint Emergent Operational Need (JEON) with regard to homeland defence.

USAF will formally declare full operational capability (FOC) after the completion of JEON fielding later this year.

Last October, Northrop’s AN/APG-83 SABR on the Air National Guard (ANG) F-16s achieved FOC.

Last year, the USAF B-52H Stratofortress and B-1B Lancer bombers were planned to be equipped with the AN/APG-83 SABR system to replace the existing radar.