412th Test Wing Public Affairs
9/9/2015 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- As
part of the F-16 Radar Modernization Program, a team from the 416th
Flight Test Squadron is preparing to conduct flight testing of the
Active Electronically Scanned Array, or AESA, radar on two 412th Test
Wing aircraft from September 2015 through August 2016.
"Current F-16 mechanically-scan radars have limited target handling
capacity because existing mechanical scanning methods are inherently
slow and require large amounts of power in order to respond rapidly
enough to deal with large numbers of high-speed maneuvering targets,"
said Jon Haser, 416th Flight Test Squadron Integrity Driven Quality
Focused Project Support contractor.
Haser said the F-16 Radar Modernization Program, or RMP, is a risk
mitigation effort designed to deliver fully developed AESA radars for
integration on Foreign Military Sales and U.S. Air Force F-16 aircraft.
AESA radars are known for their superior capability in comparison
to current operational radars.
"In an era in which the numerical superiority of adversaries is expected
to remain large, an electronic scanning radar can offset that advantage
and provide increase lethality for the F-16," said Haser.
"With mechanically-scanned systems, antenna inertia and inflexibility
prevent employment of optimum radar beam positioning patterns that can
reduce reaction times and increase target capacity," said Haser. "With
electronic scanning, the radar beams are positioned almost
instantaneously and completely without the inertia, time lags and
vibration of mechanical [radar] systems."
Additionally, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics selected Northrop Grumman
Corp. to provide its Scalable Agile Beam Radar, or SABR: AN/APG-83 Fire
Control Radar, as contractor-furnished equipment for Foreign Military
Sales and potentially U.S. Air Force F-16 modernization programs.
"This RMP test program will consist of a Design Try-Out to help develop
radar modes of the SABR and to evaluate the AN/APG-83 radar performance
specified in the contract prior to integration efforts by Lockheed
Martin," Haser said.
Although Haser said no U.S. Air Force F-16 aircraft programs have been
identified to receive AESA radar upgrades, the RMP flight test efforts
here will directly affect the AESA radar development for the F-16
Phoenix Rising Project for Taiwan, slated to begin at the end of 2015.