Northrop Grumman Corporation , in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force, has successfully completed a series of demonstration flights of its Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) installed in an F-16 fighter aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.Â The demonstration was in support of a U.S. Air Force F-16 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) feasibility study.Â
“Almost two years ago Northrop Grumman said that air forces of the future will necessarily gravitate toward using AESA technology â€“ especially through scalable retrofit technology.Â Our team has worked diligently to make that possible and today we’ve made it a reality.Â This officially marks the first time a retrofit AESA has ever flown in a legacy F-16,” said Arlene Camp, director of Advanced F-16 Radar Programs at Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems sector.Â
“This demonstration validated our goal of developing an AESA that can be easily installed on the flight line and integrated with existing power and cooling provisions of currently fielded F-16s,” Camp added.Â “With regard to installed performance, SABR’s air-to-air and air-to-ground detection and tracking and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) mapping performance met or exceeded our predictions.” Â Â
SABR is an affordable and scalable AESA radar designed for retrofit in current F-16s and other legacy fighter, attack, and training aircraft.Â Compared to mechanically-scanned array radars, SABR will provide the increased performance, multi-functionality, and greater reliability inherent in AESA radars.Â In terms of combat capability, SABR provides improved situational awareness, greater detection, high-resolution SAR maps, interleaved air-to-air and air-to-surface mode operations, and an all-environment precision strike capability.
Northrop Grumman has been the sole provider of radars for the F-16 and for over 30 years has continually improved the F-16 radar’s performance and reliability.Â More than 5,000 F-16 radars have been produced for the U.S. Air Force and 24 nations worldwide.Â
Because of this extensive foundation and rich F-16 heritage and platform intimacy, Northrop Grumman is the first to design, develop, integrate, test and successfully demonstrate retrofit AESA capability in flight on a legacy F-16. Â SABR is part of Northrop Grumman’s robust product family of multi-function sensors and capabilities.