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United States Continues to Retrofit Aircraft with AESA Radars

by: Matthew Potter
January 3, 2011

Category: Air National Guard, Boeing, Business Line, Companies, Contract Additions, Contract Awards, Countries, Department of Defense, development program, Events, Military Aviation, northrop grumman, Northrop Grumman Corp., production program, Raytheon, Services, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, United States | RSS 2.0

The United States military continues to invest in retrofitting their existing fleet of combat aircraft with Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars in the place of their existing mechanically activated systems. So far Raytheon (RTN) has won contracts to refit F-15 fighters for the U.S. Air Force and F/A-18 aircraft for the Navy.

The most recent contract was issued by the Navy late last week. This has a value of over $50 million and brings the total number of systems bought to upgrade F/A-18 aircraft to 57. The F/A-18 also remains in production by Boeing (BA) and the current Block II are receiving the AESA radars as they are delivered. Raytheon is on contract for over 400 radars to support Boeing’s production.

AESA utilizes electronic beam scanning rather then moving the whole dish. This is not only more effective but also reduces maintenance with less mechanical parts and this advantage increases readiness.

Earlier in the month Raytheon also received a contract for a different AESA radar used to retrofit existing F-15 fighters in use by the Air Force. This follows on earlier contracts with the first F-15 being retrofitted in April.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) which will replace the F-16, F/A-18 and other aircraft in service with the U.S. and its Allies has such a radar as its base production configuration. There is discussion of extending the service life of the F-16 and potentially retrofitting a new radar to it. If the U.S. does decide to do this it would open up a large market to Raytheon or Northrop Grumman (NOC) as there are thousands of F-16 aircraft in service across the world. Not all of the users will be able to afford to buy F-35 to replace them.

The AESA radar represents a strait forward upgrade to existing aircraft and represents a potential market worth millions as different aircraft receive them.

Photo from sufw’s flickr photostream.

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  1. Tweets that mention United States Continues to Retrofit Aircraft with AESA Radars | Defense Procurement News -- Topsy.com on January 3rd, 2011 3:48 am

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