US Air National Guard (ANG) Boeing F-15A/C Eagles flying homeland defence missions could receive an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar upgrade, says Raytheon. US lawmakers are considering a guard request for additional funding worth around $72 million in the fiscal year 2006 budget for six APG-63(V)3 radars, which feature an active array comprised of hundreds of small transmit/receive modules.

If approved, the ANG request would also cover the production of one spare APG-63(V)3 for the US Air Force’s active-duty fleet, says Mike Henchey, Raytheon business development director. Production would then continue at a rate of six AESA systems a year.


The bulk of the ANG’s 160 F-15A/Cs are equipped with mechanically scanned APG-63s, although 18 USAF F-15Cs at Elmendorf AFB in Alaska have been equipped with the APG-63(V)2 AESA radar. This uses heavier “brick” modules than the “tile” technology introduced with the (V)3 variant now sought by the ANG.

Raytheon has built one prototype APG-63(V)3, but the radar had until recently appeared unlikely to secure production approval. The USAF plans to upgrade its F-15E Strike Eagles with the newer APG-63(V)4 variant from 2008, which will reuse transmit/receive modules from the (V)3 and introduce updated processors from Raytheon’s APG-79 AESA radar installed on Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Block 2 Super Hornet. The radar upgrade would enable the aircraft to track an expanded group of threats, including cruise missiles.


Source: Flight International