The Obama administration decided against selling 66 new F-16s to Taiwan, notifying the U.S. Congress instead of a planned $5.3 billion upgrade of the island nation’s existing F-16 fleet to include active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and other new systems.
Following a successful series of trials in a U.S. Air Force F-16 that began late last year, Northrop Grumman’s SABR (scalable agile beam radar) has been refined to the point where the company says it is ready for production. Since receiving limited export clearance in February, Northrop Grumman has been actively marketing the radar upgrade to a number of F-16 users, and it hopes the U.S. Air Force will move ahead with an F-16 radar upgrade.
Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems Division revealed here yesterday the latest in its growing active electronically steered antenna (AESA) radar family. The Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) builds on the company’s expertise of developing AESA radars for the F-22, F-35 and F-16 Block 60.
The Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 60 operated by the United Arab Emirates air force could be described as military aviation’s version of a “missing link.” Its on-board systems are the most advanced of any F-16 ever built, so much so that it bridges the gap between the futuristic capabilities of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the previous F-16C/D Block 50 series.
Northrop Grumman’s active electronically scanning array (AESA) radars have undoubtedly made a big impact on fighter technology. The AN/APG-77, the AN/APG-80 and the AN/APG-81 are fitted, respectively, to Lockheed Martin’s F-22A Raptor, F-16E/F Block 60 Desert Falcon, and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).