Northrop Grumman held a briefing earlier today on the status of their Scalable Agile Beam Radar, which is based on the active electronically scanned array sets found onboard the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The company hopes its offering will be selected for the US Air Force’s F-16 upgrade program in the near future.
While a lot of the software and hardware is directly lifted from the F-35′s radar, the SABR does not have all of the capabilities of the APG-81. For example, while both the SABR and APG-81 are capable of generating synthetic aperture radar (SAR) maps, the SABR does not have not have a ground moving target indictor (GMTI) mode. Nor can it overlay such a mode over a SAR map like the APG-81 can. It simply wasn’t a requirement, Northrop officials say, but it might be possible to add such capabilities to the SABR if it was needed.
The SABR does retain the capability to simultaneously run air-to-air and air-to-surface modes. And in the SAR mode, it has automatic target cueing capability, which should make the pilot’s life a lot easier.