NORTHROP GRUMMAN is taking orders for improved versions of the APG-66 and APG-68 fire-control radars, according to vice-president for avionics systems James Pitts.

The advanced systems include the APG-68 Agile Beam Radar (ABR), the active electronically scanned-array variant of the radar installed in the Lockheed Martin F-16C/D.

The other new products are the APG-68(V)X and APG-66(V)X, which feature exciter, receiver and processor upgrades aimed at reducing costs and improving reliability. Pitts says that Northrop Grumman can begin delivering APG-68ABR units in 2000, and the -66(V)X and -68(V)X radars a year earlier.

The APG-66(V)X is a further improvement to the APG-66(V)2 which is going into the F-16 mid-life update being undertaken by European air forces, and the more capable APG-66(V)3 which is being installed in 150 Block 20 F-16A/Bs sold to Taiwan.

The APG-68ABR, says Pitts, is viewed as part of a potential upgrade of Block 50 F-16C/Ds (the current production standard for the F-16C/D operated by the US Air Force). The USAF has yet to establish a requirement for the advanced radar.

Pitts declines to discuss the on-going fighter competition in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but it has been suggested that the active-array APG-68ABR is being offered to the UAE as part of the so-called "Block 60" advanced F-16. The UAE is expected to select either 80 F-16s or Dassault Rafale advanced combat aircraft in early 1998, with aircraft deliveries beginning in 2000 or 2001.

The APG-68ABR is also being offered to Norway, which is considering purchase of 40 F-16s or Eurofighter EF2000s. "Norway decided it needs this electronically-scanned antenna technology for threat-driven reasons," Pitts says, but will not elaborate.

Source: Flight International