The radar equipping the USAF’s F-15EX jets could receive future electronic attack enhancements to help air defence suppression.
Raytheon won a contract from Boeing on 1st October for the supply of eight AN/APG-82(V)1 X-band (8.5GHz to 10.68GHz) fire control radars to equip the latter’s F-15EX combat aircraft. The F-15EX is a beefed-up version of the legacy McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle which entered US Air Force service in 1989. According to the US Congressional Research Service, the US Congress’ public policy research organisation, the F-15EX programme kicks off with a purchase of eight F-15EX jets for $1.1 billion.
The first AN/APG-82(V)1 radar was delivered by Raytheon to Boeing for F-15E installation in 2010. Michelle Styczynski, Raytheon’s senior director of F-15 programmes, told chainhomehigh that there are no physical changes between the AN/APG-82(V)1 radars equipping the F-15Es and F-15EX. The only differences are minor software changes.
Hardware and Software
Ms. Styczynski expects improvements to the AN/APG-82(V)1 during its service life: “The future contains both hardware and software updates. There are a bunch of different things that we could offer.” One potential area is inserting technology that allows for enhanced electronic attack.
Given that the AN/APG-82(V)1 uses a Gallium Arsenide Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA), software could be added enabling the radar to double as a jammer. This could direct conventional high-power jamming or discreet jamming waveforms into hostile radars. These waveforms could be generated by the aircraft’s BAE Systems Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System and then transmitted by the radar.
There is growing interest within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) airpower community in harnessing combat aircraft radar for electronic attack. For example, the Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon-F/GR4 Tranche-3 combat aircraft will receive Leonardo’s ECRS Mk.2 X-band AESA radar which can perform electronic attack. Such an attribute is seen as increasingly important for air defence suppression. It can complement anti-radiation missiles, air-launched radio frequency decoys and high-power jamming pods to engage hostile ground-based air defences.