Radar Upgrade

The U.S. Air Force selected Northrop Grumman Corporation’s APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) as the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) for its F-16 radar upgrade.

AESA (advanced electronically scanned array)
AESA (advanced electronically scanned array)

Northrop Grumman will upgrade 72 U.S. Air National Guard F-16s to meet a U.S. Northern Command Joint Emergent Operational Need for homeland defense.

«AESA radar upgrades are critically important to give the F-16 community, the tactical advantage it deserves, and we are honored to provide this differentiating technology for the safety and mission effectiveness of our warfighters», said Bob Gough, vice president, combat avionics systems, Northrop Grumman. «The APG-83 SABR system is in full rate production and available now for U.S. and international F-16 upgrades».

The radar upgrade extends the operational viability and reliability of the F-16 and provides pilots with 5th generation fighter radar capabilities to counter and defeat increasingly sophisticated threats.

The greater bandwidth, speed, and agility of Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 SABR enables the F-16 to detect, track and identify greater numbers of targets faster and at longer ranges. In addition, the radar can operate in hostile electronic environments and features all-weather, high-resolution synthetic aperture radar mapping, which presents the pilot with a large surface image enabling precision target identification and strike.

The APG-83 SABR has also been selected by a growing number of international customers and is the base radar for Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70. Northrop Grumman began delivering production APG-83 radars for its first international customer on schedule at the end of 2016.

United States Air Force Selects the Northrop Grumman APG-83 SABR for F-16 AESA Radar Upgrade
United States Air Force Selects the Northrop Grumman APG-83 SABR for F-16 AESA Radar Upgrade

The APG-83 AESA provides the following capability enhancements over legacy mechanically scanned APG-66 & APG-68 radars to ensure F-16s remain operationally viable and sustainable for decades to come:

  • Autonomous, all-environment stand-off precision targeting;
  • BIG SAR wide area high-res maps;
  • High quality, coordinate generation;
  • Greater target detection and tracking range;
  • Faster search and target acquisition;
  • Smaller target detection;
  • Multi-target tracking;
  • Robust electronic protection (A/A and A/G);
  • SABR 5th Gen Capability;
  • Enhanced combat ID;
  • Interleaved mode operations for greater situational awareness;
  • Maritime modes;
  • 3-5× greater reliability and availability.


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