Apg 81 Radar by donBeeship

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									Fighters feature electronic attack
There is new evidence of widespread re-                the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet’s AN/APG-            46% share in FY14 likely to continue
search into alternate uses for the next gen-           79, but it now seems there have been            growing.
eration of fighter radars—those with active            many studies of specific AESA uses.                  Raytheon’s AN/APG-79 radar with its
electronically scanned array (AESA) an-                Fender refers to the potential destructive      AESA antenna has been developed for the
tennas. The Air Force is finally talking               effects of “nonkinetic radar weapons” as        F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, for new builds,
about secret studies, conducted within                 “truly transformational,” with hundreds or      and as a retrofit replacement for the me-
the military and scientific communities,               thousands of transmit/receive (T/R) mod-        chanically scanned AN/APG-73. With
that propose using AESA antennas to fo-                ules in a single antenna focusing their         more power than the APG-73, the APG-
cus energies in many of the same ways                  power on a single target. Another plus of       79 will have two or three times the air-to-
that the planned high-power microwave                  AESA weapons would be an increased              air detection range and will allow tracking
(HPM) devices will.                                    ability to minimize the collateral damage       of significantly more targets. It will also
     The peak power of fighter AESAs may               caused by “kinetic” weapons.                    have a much better ability to identify tar-
not match that of dedicated directed en-                     The Air Force Research Laboratory         gets and break out those that are closely
ergy weapons. However, Janet Fender, the               (AFRL) and Aeronautical Systems Center          spaced. It will integrate with Raytheon’s
USAF Air Combat Command’s (ACC) top                    (ASC), as well as the ACC, have reportedly      AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR (advanced target-
scientist at Langley AFB, Va., has discussed           been working on AESA airborne elec-             ing forward-looking infrared) via the Su-
their ability to “operate in a surgical kill           tronic attack possibilities. All these pro-     per Hornet’s mission computer, allowing
mode” by targeting specific frequencies of             grams are classified; the discussion below      the radar to locate targets for FLIR target-
opposing electronic systems. The latter                focuses on the fighters and radars that         ing and reconnaissance.
could include missile seekers and enemy                could eventually gain these new capabili-            For air-to-ground operations, the
radars or even computer systems. HPMs                  ties by forecasting the 10-year future of       APG-79’s synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
operate more by broadband electronic                   the fighter radar market. We have also          mode can overlay GMTI (ground moving
disruption or thermal destruction.                     predicted the market shares of U.S. com-        target indication) tracks on the SAR image,
     Earlier, a general “jamming” capabil-             panies that would benefit from the mas-         with a maximum SAR resolution three
ity had been discussed for radars such as              sive funding likely to follow today’s initial   times that of the APG-73. With the APG-
                                                                    nonkinetic radar weapon con-       79’s multimode capability, the F/A-18F’s
                                                                    cept studies.                      pilot can, for example, perform an air-to-
Raytheon’s AN/APG-63(V) is the fire control radar for the
F-15A/B/C/D.                                                                                           air mission while the back-seater performs
                                                                         AESA radars and               an air-to-ground mission. SAR imaging
                                                                            upgrades                   and air-to-air search and track can con-
                                                                   Our funding forecast shows          tinue simultaneously, since there is no
                                                                   that more than $2.5 billion a       need for physically steering the antenna
                                                                   year will be spent on fighter       to either ground or air vectors. Raytheon
                                                                   radars through the end of the       engineers are referring to the APG-79 as a
                                                                   decade. After this, production      wideband device that can operate well
                                                                   of several legacy radar pro-        outside the X-band, and planned up-
                                                                   grams will begin to trail off,      grades include an electronic warfare jam-
                                                                   and several AESA upgrades           ming function.
                                                                   for other aircraft will be com-          In February 2001, Boeing and Ray-
                                                                   plete. Perhaps most impor-          theon won the $324-million engineering
                                                                   tant, USAF F/A-22 (recently         development contract to design, install,
                                                                   renamed F-22A) production           and test five full and two partial APG-79s.
                                                                   (APG-77) will end in about          Low-rate initial production (LRIP) con-
                                                                   10 years. By the middle of the      tracts were awarded in September 2003,
                                                                   next decade, the F-35 Joint         February 2004, and June 2005. The first
                                                                   Strike Fighter (APG-81) will        LRIP radar was delivered for flight testing
                                                                   begin to dominate the market        in January 2005, and one delivery per
                                                                   for fighter radars, with its        month was planned through 2005. Devel-

18   AEROSPACE AMERICA/FEBRUARY 2006
opment flight testing was to be completed        reportedly seeking an even
in 2005, with initial operational capabil-       newer radar for the F-15E.
ity planned for September of this year.          Boeing claimed a competi-
      Current Navy plans have the APG-           tion was likely, with a ver-
79 equipping 415 Super Hornets, includ-          sion of Northrop Grumman’s
ing 90 EA-18G Growler electronic attack          AN/APG-77 from the F-22A
aircraft, but this number could easily rise.     competing with an upgraded
Total APG-79 program costs could reach           Raytheon APG-63(V)4. The
$6 billion.                                      (V)4 would have the (V)3 AESA
      Raytheon’s AN/APG-63(V) is the fire        antenna but more back-end components
control radar for the F-15A/B/C/D Eagle          from the Super Hornet, including its
fighter. A modified version, the AN/APG-         processor and other upgrades.
                                                                                                     Raytheon’s AN/APG-79 radar was developed for
70, superseded the APG-63 on the F-15E                 After adding probable upgrades for            the Super Hornet, for new builds, and as a
Strike Eagle, but was then itself to be re-      Saudi Arabia and Israel, the September              retrofit replacement for the mechanically
placed with the APG-63(V)1 as part of a          2005 Singapore APG-63(V)3 buy, and                  scanned AN/APG-73.
comprehensive APG-63 upgrade. The (V)1           Japan’s decision in early 2005 to further
includes many improvements, but the pri-         upgrade its own F-15s, all the various              ground modes, with SAR ground imaging
mary benefit is the increased reliability        APG-63 upgrades should be worth about               resolution of 1 ft or better. The first 10
that will result from replacing the difficult-   $3.5 billion in our forecast period, run-           Block 60 F-16s had been delivered to the
to-maintain 20-year-old circuitry in the         ning at almost a half billion dollars a year        UAE by May 2005, although radar and
original APG-63. The APG-63(V)1 LRIP             for several years at the end of this decade.        avionics software development continues.
contract was awarded in August 1997,             This will make F-15 radars one of the                    We had been forecasting healthy ad-
with full-rate production beginning in           world’s largest radar programs over the             ditional production of the Block 60 be-
2002. Japan and South Korea also chose           next 10 years.                                      yond the UAE order, but the F-16’s for-
the APG-63(V)1.                                        Northrop Grumman has developed                tunes have been greatly complicated by the
      However, in 2004 the Air Force             the AESA AN/APG-80 Agile Beam Radar                 increasingly real F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,
changed its plans to upgrade 400 F-15s           for the United Arab Emirates’ 80 Block 60           as well as disappointments in Block 60
with the APG-63(V)1, deciding instead to         F-16s. The APG-80 will have almost twice            development (it is still too expensive). As
install the APG-63(V)3 AESA antenna up-          the air-to-air detection range offered by           a result, there is a good chance the Block
grade on the entire 224-aircraft F-15E           the mechanically scanned APG-68(V)7,                60 and APG-80 could be produced only
fleet, beginning this year. The (V)3 is es-      although it will concentrate on air-to-             for the UAE.
sentially an updated APG-79 front-end
(antenna and power supply) and APG-
63(V)1 hardware back-end. For the F-15E,         FIGHTER RADAR MARKET SHARE
the antenna size is increased to 0.9 m (36       RDT&E + Procurement Available to U.S.
in.) diam, and improved tile T/R modules
                                                  100%
with a greater mean time between over-
haul are used, rather than the Super Hor-
net’s brick T/R modules.
                                                    80%
      The APG-63(V)3 is 400 kg (900 lb)
lighter than the (V)1, and will also improve
reliability by 500% (AESA T/R modules               60%
seem to be living up to their billing as
rarely needing maintenance or repair).
This would leave only about 180 F-15Cs              40%
with the (V)1 (and 18 with the earlier
(V)2 AESA), and (V)1 production line
shutdown was begun in 2004, to be com-              20%
pleted this month. The F-15E is slated to
remain in service until 2035, with the F-
                                                     0%
15C continuing until 2025, to serve along-
side the F-22A.                                        FY05     FY06     FY07        FY08   FY09      FY10      FY11      FY12      FY13     FY14
      But by late 2005, the Air Force was                          Lockheed Martin                 Raytheon               Northrop Grumman

                                                                                                        AEROSPACE AMERICA/FEBRUARY 2006        19
      Legacy radars: Last of the                    FIGHTER RADAR FUNDING FORECAST
         mechanical arrays                          RDT&E + Procurement Available to U.S.
Despite their now-dated mechanically                                  3
steered antennas, two legacy fighter radar
programs will continue to be worth sev-                              2.5
eral hundred millions of dollars a year
past the end of the decade—that is, if we



                                                    FY05 $Billions
consider the AH-64D Apache attack heli-                               2
copter’s Longbow fire control radar (FCR)
to be a fighter radar.                                               1.5
      Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-68(V)
is an improved version of the AN/APG-66                               1
radar, developed as the fire control radar
for the F-16C/D Fighting Falcon. It is a
pulse-Doppler, multimode air-to-air and                               .5
air-to-ground radar, with a VHSIC ad-
vanced programmable signal processor.                                 0
                                                                      FY05    FY06   FY07       FY08    FY09      FY10      FY11    FY12      FY13    FY14
      Production for the Air Force has con-
cluded, and any future U.S. F-16s might
                                                                                       APG-63          APG-68            APG-77      APG-78
be Block 60s with the APG-80 radar. But
                                                                                       APG-79          APG-80            APG-81      Other
substantial production for FMS F-16C/Ds
will continue through the decade, espe-
cially for the new APG-68(V)9 version               international orders, and cancellation of                         However, the Air Force has changed
with SAR modes.                                     the Army’s Comanche, we forecast at least                   the primary mission of the Raptor from
      With more than 2,000 radars in ser-           another 400 APG-78 radars produced                          air superiority to strike. This might seem
vice, upgrades and support will continue            over the next 10 years.                                     odd, considering how the Air Force’s ar-
for decades. In 2004, the USAF con-                      In June 2005, the Army and Boeing                      gument for not cutting the F-22 rested on
tracted for a major (V)5 to (V)9 upgrade            contracted to develop the Block III Apache                  its very different mission compared to the
kit, to be procured for 280 F-16s. In 2005,         Longbow, which will include an extended-                    Joint Strike Fighter. Even more unex-
Turkey also contracted for (V)9 upgrades,           range Longbow FCR and a new Longbow                         pected is the plan to add many air-to-
and we believe many of the remaining                Fire Control Radar Electronics Unit.                        ground capabilities to the APG-77. Unfor-
earlier version APG-68s out there will also         Block III upgrade production will begin                     tunately, these new capabilities have
be converted.                                       in 2010, following the completion of cur-                   recently become classified, and very little
      Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-78                  rent new-build Apache production.                           information is available.
Longbow FCR is one component of the                                                                                   What we do know is all these changes
Army’s Longbow system, which com-                                            F-22A and JSF                      will not be cheap, and RDT&E and mod-
prises the AH-64D Apache helicopter, the                The two biggest fighter radar programs in               ification funding will remain high, along-
millimeter-wave FCR, and Hellfire anti-                 our 10-year forecast are, understandably,               side already high production dollars. We
tank missiles equipped with millimeter-                 the radars for the F-22A Raptor and F-35.               forecast more than a half-billion dollars a
wave seekers. With continuing U.S. and                        The most anxiously awaited new                    year in total F-22A radar funding for most
                                                                     fighter radar of recent years              of our forecast period, though this will
                                                                     was certainly Northrop                     drop precipitously when production fi-
AN/APG-81 JSF radar was shown on Northrop Grumman’s BAC
1-11 test bed aircraft with its radome removed prior to its suc-     Grumman’s and Raytheon’s                   nally ends, now forecast to occur by the
cessful first flight test.                                           AN/APG-77 for the Raptor                   middle of the next decade.
                                                                     (Northrop Grumman has the                        MIRFS (multifunction integrated RF
                                                                     larger workshare). Originally              system) is the integrated avionics system
                                                                     designed as a pure air-to-air              being developed for the JSF. The most
                                                                     system, its AESA antenna                   important and expensive sensor in MIRFS
                                                                     and high power provide by                  is Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-81 MFA
                                                                     far the longest detection                  (multifunction nose array), which in-
                                                                     range of any fighter radar,                cludes an AESA that will function as the
                                                                     greater than 120 n.mi. Com-                antenna for the JSF radar, as well as for
                                                                     bined with the extended-                   communications and electronic support
                                                                     range AIM-120 AMRAAM                       measures (ESM) systems.
                                                                     missile, this allows the F-22                    Designed from the start for air-to-
                                                                     to obtain multiple kills well              ground missions, and given its lesser
                                                                     beyond the reach of any cur-               power, the JSF’s integrated radar and sen-
                                                                     rent or foreseen enemy.                    sor system will have a shorter range but

20   AEROSPACE AMERICA/FEBRUARY 2006
greater capabilities than the F-22A. The             ditional test flights are planned through                       man built the F-16’s APG-68 and APG-66
APG-81 will provide near-simultaneous                2009. Northrop Grumman delivered the                            radars, and could offer either APG-80- or
air-to-ground and air-to-air radar modes,            first APG-81 to Lockheed Martin in No-                          APG-81-based antennas. Raytheon would
and high-gain ESM and EW (electronic                 vember 2005, for flights on a test bed air-                     not have a chance here.
warfare) jamming functions. The X-band               craft and then on the F-35.                                           Raytheon’s best hope to maintain a
MFA will also interact with other fre-                                                                               relative parity with Northrop Grumman is
quency band antennas in apertures around                         Drawing conclusions                                 to continue AESA upgrade development,
the stealthy JSF.                                    Our fighter radar market share forecast                         and possibly to expand into the UCAV
      Teal Group sees the possibility that           seemingly shows a fairly constant split be-                     market, if fighter-like fire control radars
several thousand JSFs could be built                 tween Northrop Grumman and Ray-                                 become a requirement. We have not in-
through at least the 2030s, and even                 theon, albeit heavily favoring Northrop                         cluded J-UCAS (joint unmanned combat
though many of these will be for interna-            Grumman. But this is somewhat deceptive,                        systems) or other UCAVs in our forecasts,
tional customers, it will be practically im-         as Raytheon’s decreasing share from FY11                        but Raytheon’s dominance of today’s UAV
possible to swap out the highly integrated           to FY14 will probably continue to fall. By                      electrooptics market (see “U.S. players in
APG-81 for another radar (unlike engines             FY14, the F-15 (APG-63), F-16 (APG-68),                         the world electrooptics market,” Septem-
and FLIRs, for example). Thus, the APG-              F/A-18 (APG-79), F-22A (APG-77), and                            ber 2005, page 22) may well save them in
81 has an excellent chance of being built            AH-64 (APG-78) programs will all be end-                        the fighter radar market of the next dec-
for the vast majority of the JSFs produced.          ing or seeing minimal new production.                           ade. If not, Raytheon may be relegated to
      In November 2004, MIRFS/MFA an-                Only the JSF will be growing. And while                         being a mere technology supplier to a to-
tenna tests were being conducted by the              upgrades for legacy radars will continue,                       tally dominant Northrop Grumman in
AFRL’s Newport facility in upstate New               Northrop Grumman’s APG-81 will lead                             the fighter radar market.
York. In August 2005, the APG-81 radar               the fighter radar market. In fact, one of                                              David L. Rockwell
flew for the first time aboard Northrop              the biggest future programs may be AESA                                                        Teal Group
Grumman’s BAC-1-11 jet. About 120 ad-                upgrades for F-16s; but Northrop Grum-                                           drockwell@tealgroup.com




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