Northrop Grumman said Tuesday its APG-81 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar met and exceeded its performance objectives successfully tracking long-range targets as part of the first mission systems test flights of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II BF-4 aircraft.
Northrop Grumman said the Block 0.5 radar software installed in the radar used during the recent F-35 flight test incorporates 60 percent of the radar software to be delivered and provides important capabilities, including long range air-to-air search and track as well as SAR modes. The AN/APG-81 radar detected airborne targets before the radars on the F-16 and F-18 chase planes. Radar and electronic warfare fusion was also observed on the first flights. "I've flown a number of AESAs and this is the smoothest one out of the box," said David Nelson, Lockheed Martin F-35 test pilot.