Raytheon is currently involved in two major upgrade programs for the U.S. Air Force’s Eagle fleet, providing AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars for both the air defense F-15C/D and the multi-role F-15E. Both programs have recently achieved significant milestones.
United States Air Force
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.
Having been dogged by cost overruns, Boeing's avionics modernization program (AMP) for the C-130 Hercules has passed its Defense Acquisition Board Milestone C, allowing low-rate initial production (LRIP) to begin. The AMP provides an integrated avionics system to prolong the useful career of the U.S. Air Force's legacy Hercules fleet, and includes full night-vision-goggle compatibility, glass cockpits and digital systems.
Boeing has been awarded a three-year $9.8 million contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to develop and demonstrate technologies that enable multiple small unmanned aerial vehicles to coordinate with each other and a manned airborne control station to carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
On April 19 Lockheed Martin rolled out from its Marietta, Georgia, facility the first of a new batch of special-mission Hercules for the U.S. Air Force. The company has a contract for 21 HC/MC-130Js, but this number is expected to rise to 31 (11 HCs and 20 MCs). They will replace ageing first-generation aircraft currently serving in Special Operations Squadrons.
Jim Kohler, Lt. Cmdr. (Ret.)
Dir. of Operations, Headquarters 166th Airlift Wing,
Delaware Air National Guard
Chief Pilot – Dupont
I loved flying as a child and grew up wanting to fly high-performance aircraft. I’ve also always had a strong desire to serve my country,” Jim Kohler told AIN.
Lockheed Martin announced another order for Sniper targeting pods from the U.S. Air Force, and revealed that Saudi Arabia has recently become a customer, presumably to fit on its F-15 fighters. The Sniper provides high-resolution imagery for precision targeting or simply for monitoring the ground, in a role that has become known as nontraditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.