FARNBOROUGH: US Navy's Super Hornet AESA radar retrofit enables legacy upgrade

Farnborough
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As the US Navy retrofits its older Block II Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets with the Raytheon AN/APG-79 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, more APG-73 mechanically-scanned arrays will be available to replace the old APG-65s on legacy F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornets.

The USN intends to retrofit every Super Hornet down to the Lot 26 production run aircraft with the APG-79, says Capt Frank Morley, the USN's programme manager for the F/A-18 family. That means there will be a large number of surplus APG-73 radars available to retrofit older legacy Hornets that are still equipped with the APG-65 - both of which are built by Raytheon.

The navy is still working on new modifications for the APG-73, but the focus is on the APG-79.

But not every Super Hornet can be retrofitted with the APG-79. For older Block I aircraft, the USN could potentially retrofit them with the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar AESA. "The option is on the table," Morley says.

However, he cautions, there may not be a business case to be made for retrofitting older airframes, although it could be considered.