Brazil favours Grifo F radar for F-5BR upgrade

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The Brazilian air force appears set to drop the Elta EL/M2032 radar in favour of the Fiar Grifo F for its Northrop F-5BR upgrade. In a reciprocal move, it is looking to the Italian air force to adopt the improved version of the Embraer Aermacchi Alenia AMX light fighter.

The air force is understood to favour switching to the Italian multimode radar for the upgrade of its 48 F-5E/Fs. Its previous selection of a new 400W version of the EL/M2032 has become embroiled in controversy over cost, development schedules and operational performance.

Earlier installations of the Israeli radar in Chilean and Moroccan F-5E/Fs has required extensive modifications to the aircraft. The air force wants to fit a larger antenna, with wider ±60° angle of sweep, and the provision to add later an active-guided beyond-visual-range missile capability.

The air force has test flown the Singapore air force's upgraded version of the F-5S/T, fitted with the Grifo F radar. Elbit was the integrator for the Singapore programme and recently took delivery of the 44th and final radar set. It has been selected as the integrator for the F-5BR upgrade, with local Brazilian manufacturer Embraer the prime contractor.

Brazil, in turn, is keen to capitalise on a proposed Italian air force upgrade of about 70 of its AMX fleet with new cockpit displays, mission computer, global positioning system and replacement radar for the ranging-only system. Requests for information have been sent to five potential vendors, including Israel Aircraft Industries, Elbit, Honeywell and Sextant.

The FAB's version of the AMX is fitted with the Alenia/Tectelcom Scp-01radar, and it owns the intellectual rights to integrate the system. In addition, the aircraft is being upgraded with new Elbit-supplied head-down displays, central processor and stores management system. Venezuela has ordered eight aircraft.