The US Navy has awarded Boeing a contract worth $49.5 million for low-rate initial production of the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and E/A-18G aircraft.
The LRIP1 contract calls for production of eight of the AESA APG-79 radar systems. Production of the LRIP1 radar could begin as soon as next month, with delivery of the first LRIP1 radar scheduled for early 2005.
‘This is an important first step in getting AESA radars into the Super Hornet,’ said Tony Parasida, vice president of the F/A-18 program for Boeing. ‘The AESA radar is an integral component of network centric warfare and pivotal to several upgrades designed into the F/A-18E/F.’
The AESA radar is part of the F/A-18E/F Block II upgrade. AESA radar works with several existing elements of the weapon system, such as the stores management system, the gun director, and AIM-120 and AIM-9 missiles, to enhance the lethality, survivability and affordability of the F/A-18E/F.
The new radar replaces existing mechanically scanned antennas with a radar beam that can be steered at close to the speed of light. This rapid beam scan feature improves performance, and because the array is solid state, mechanical breakdowns will be virtually eliminated.