United States Of America – More AN/APY-10s For Poseidon

Raytheon has been tasked to build 14 AN/APY-10 airborne maritime surveillance radars for the US Navy’s new Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

The order, worth $48.8 million (€36.1 million), will include the supply of 13 radars, and one spare, to furnish the Lot-IV P-8A production run. The Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) P-8A Lot-IV contract was awarded to Boeing on 31st July and is worth $1.9 billion (€1.4 billion). These aircraft, and their accompanying radars, are expected to enter US Navy service by late 2016.

The radar is a direct descendent of Raytheon’s AN/APS-149 Littoral Surveillance Radar which equips the Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion aircraft which the P-8A will replace.

The AN/APY-10 uses an Active Electronically Scanned Array antenna to perform gather Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and inverse SAR imagery over land and water. Moreover, it can perform periscope detection for the anti-submarine mission.

Although no information appears to be publicly available regarding the particular specifications of the AN/APY-10, it is thought to be an X-band system, based on its AN/APS-137 lineage.

United States – APG-79 Contract

On 24th September, Raytheon was awarded a contract worth $39 million (€28 million) to supply 15 AN/APG-79 radars for US Navy Boeing F/A-18E/F combat aircraft for delivery by 2015.

Deliveries of the first low-rate initial production radar to Boeing for installation onboard the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet occurred in January 2005. This was followed in June 2005 with a contract worth $580 million (€444 million) for the delivery of 180 radars for installation on the Super Hornet over a five-year period.

In May 2013, a firm fixed-price delivery contract worth €6.5 million ($8.6 million) was awarded to Raytheon by the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Maryland for the supply of three AN/APG-79 radars.

The US Navy is upgrading its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets with Raytheon’s AN/APG-79. The upgrade will allow some of the legacy Raytheon AN/APG-73 radars outfitting early F/A-18E/F airframes to be cascaded down to other US Navy and Marine Corps Hornets which are still using the legacy Raytheon AN/APG-65 system.

The AN/APG-79 is essentially an AN/APG-65 radar family member with the additional of an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antenna.

No official details have been released by the AN/APG-79’s manufacturer regarding the radar’s performance and specification, although unofficial sources state that the AESA antenna has up to 1,100 transmit/receive modules, and a range of over 123 nautical miles (228 kilometres) for a ten square-metre (107.6 square feet) sized target.

United States – Northrop Grumman Wins ViSAR Work

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract worth $5.6 million (€4.1 million), as of 15th September, to perform work on the Video Synthetic Aperture Radar (ViSAR) programme orchestrated by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The company will construct and test a prototype ViSAR radar as part of the initiative led by L3 Communications’ Electron Devices division.

L-3 was awarded a contract by DARPA worth $2.6 million (€1.9 million) in July to perform the ViSAR design and development programme.

The ViSAR initiative intends to develop a SAR radar which can perform target identification through cloud and other battlefield obscurants to enable United States Air Force AC-130H/U Spectre/Spooky-II fixed-wing gunships to engage targets in bad weather or dusty conditions. This would have the added advantage of enabling the gunship to use such conditions to mask the aircraft from ground-to-air fire.

Ultimately, the ViSAR sensor is intended to compensate for shortfalls in the performance of the infra-red sensors which AC-130s routinely carry which can be disrupted by obscurants in the atmosphere. Once developed, the ViSAR sensor could be housed on the aircraft in an external pod mounting.

South Korea – AH-64E Radars Contracted

Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin’s Longbow LLC joint venture, responsible for the Longbow fire control radar which equips the Boeing/McDonnell Douglas AH-64D/E Apache attack helicopters has been awarded a contract worth $50 million (€31.3 million).

The contract, the news of which was announced on 12th September, covers the provision of six radars, spare parts and support to South Korea. The country is purchasing 26 AH-64E Apaches which are expected to be delivered from 2016, with deliveries concluding in 2018.

United States: ViSAR Award

L-3 Electron Devices has been awarded a contract by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) worth $2.6 million (€1.9 million) to undertake the Video Synthetic Aperture Radar (ViSAR) design and development programme.

The ViSAR initiative intends to develop a SAR radar which can perform target identification through cloud and other battlefield obscurants to enable United States Air Force AC-130H/U Spectre/Spooky-II fixed-wing gunships to

AC-130U (US DoD)
AC-130U (US DoD)

engage targets in bad weather or dusty conditions. This would have the added advantage of enabling the gunship to use such conditions to mask the aircraft from ground-to-air fire.

As part of the contract L-3 will construct and test the radar, and then integrate it onto an AC-130 airframe for additional testing. Ultimately, the ViSAR sensor is intended to compensate for shortfalls in the performance of the infra-red sensors which AC-130s routinely carry which can be disrupted by obscurants in the atmosphere. Once developed, the ViSAR sensor could be housed on the aircraft in an external pod mounting.

United States: Making Sense

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has provided ChainHomeHigh with an update regarding the firm’s participation in the United States Air Force Laboratory’s Multi Sensor Detect Sense and Avoid (MSDSA) programme.

The MSDSA initiative is developing an Airborne Sense And Avoid (ABSAA) sensor which can be used onboard Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). ABSAA technology developed by the company uses an X-band radar equipped with an Electronically Reconfigurable Array (ERA). This can detect flying objects approaching an aircraft, and provide over 60 seconds of avoidance time. SNC performed its first equipment demonstration as part of the MSDSA programme in October 2011.

The firm has since revealed that a second set of flight tests were performed in December 2012, with a Cessna 404 Titan twin piston engine aircraft carrying the MSDSA sensor and a Cessna 172 Skyhawk single piston engine plane acting as the intruder.

The MSDSA programme is intended to develop ABSAA technology for Tier-I, Tier-II and Tier-III class UAVs. According to Greg Cox, corporate vice president of the firm’s communications, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management business area, the MSDSA architecture is designed to; “accommodate other sensors such as Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast or Identification Friend or Foe Mode-5 transponder functions.”

Although SNCs involvement with the AFRL’s MSDSA programme is now complete, the firm; “is working an internal research and development program to improve the maturity of the MSDSA product. Additionally, SNC is working with other potential customers on continuing our role in sense and avoid.”

United States – Raytheon Round-Up

RACR Radar on F-16C (Raytheon)
RACR Radar on F-16C (Raytheon)

Raytheon provided ChainHomeHigh with an update regarding their combat aircraft radars at this year’s Paris Air Show.

The company hopes for the United States Department of Defense to make a decision by the end of the year regarding which radar will equip the United States Air Force’s (USAF’s) Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcon multirole combat aircraft as part of the proposed upgrade for the jet. Raytheon’s RACR (Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar) is competing for selection in this programme with Northrop Grumman’s SABR (Scalable Agile Beam Radar) system. In April 2013, RACR was chosen by South Korea to equip its air force’s F-16C/D aircraft. Once a decision is made, and should Raytheon win selection, the firm says that it could commence the delivery of RACR radars to equip the USAF’s F-16s within the next two-to-three years. Raytheon also plans to commence RACR deliveries to South Korea within a similar timeframe.

Meanwhile, the USAF is completing operational testing for the company’s APG-82(V)1 radar which is to equip the service’s Boeing F-15E Eagle jets. The radar is equipping these aircraft as a retrofit, with 221 units to be delivered from 2015, and deliveries expected to be completed by 2020. Finally, Raytheon is supplying its APG-79 radar for the US Navy’s Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet combat aircraft, and the service’s E/A-18G Growler electronic warfare platform. It will soon deliver its 400th example.

A ‘slimmed down’ version of the APG-79, which also forms part of the RACR brand, is due to be released in the immediate future and is designed to equip legacy F/A-18C/Ds in service with several air forces around the world. Raytheon have taken an interesting approach as regards the architecture of the APG-79, RACR and APG-82(V)1 as all of these radars have the same back end, helping to reduce manufacturing and maintenance costs.

AN/APG-68(V)9 Radar Order

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $115 million (€87 million) firm fixed-price contract to supply a total of 38 AN/APG-68(V)9 radars and spare parts to the Royal Thai Air Force (16 radars) and the Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF – 22 radars).

The contract also includes the supply of radar spare parts to the air forces of Egypt and Pakistan. The contract is expected to be fulfilled by the end of 2017.

Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-68(V)9 is the latest incarnation of the AN/APG-68 pulse-Doppler radar originally developed by Westinghouse. In its original form, the radar is thought to have a range of around 296 kilometres (160 nautical miles) and to operate in the X-band frequency range.

The AN/APG-68(V)9 version of the radar updates the previous AN/APG-68(V)8 with new antenna; receiver/exciter; dual mode transmitter and common radar processor line replaceable units. Furthermore, compared to legacy AN/APG-68 systems, the AN/APG-68(V)9  scans a larger volume of space and has a synthetic aperture radar mode.

Beyond the air forces discussed above, the AN/APG-68(V)9 is in service onboard Lockheed Martin F-16D Block-52+ combat aircraft operated by the Israeli Air Force, Republic of Singapore Air Force, Turkish Air Force, Hellenic Air Force and Pakistan Air Force, in addition to the F-16C/D Block-50/52+ jets of the Polish Air Force.

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