Raytheon has received a $55.8 million contract to begin production of an active-array radar upgrade for US Air National Guard Boeing F-15C fighters. The contract covers the first six APG-63(V)3 active electronically scanned arrays (AESA) for the ANG, plus another for the US Air Force, which is also looking at upgrading its aircraft.

© USAF   
The air force plans to equip its F-15s with an AESA system

A total of 48 systems are planned for the ANG, says Arnie Victor, Raytheon business development director F-15 radar programmes. He adds that the active air force is interested in the (V)3 radar in its 2008 budget planning process.

The USAF operates 160 F-15C/D Golden Eagles equipped with upgraded APG-63(V)1 radars with mechanically scanned antennas, says Victor. Six of these will be transferred to the ANG and fitted with the (V)3 AESA front end. Future upgrades could involve the original, unmodified APG-63(V)0 radars and require both new (V)1 back ends and (V)3 front ends, he says.

The USAF already operates 18 Alaska-based F-15Cs modified with earlier APG-63(V)2 AESAs and tasked with cruise missile defence. The service plans to issue a request for proposals next year to upgrade its F-15E Strike Eagles to carry an AESA system, says Victor. Raytheon will also offer an evolution of the APG-63(V)3 with technology from the APG-79 active-array radar in the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

A multi-mode air-to-air/air-to-ground version of the (V)3 is already in production for Singapore's F-15SGs, and the new contract will allow Raytheon to ramp up to high-rate production. "We expect a lot of interest in retrofits from F-15 customers once the USAF goes down that path," says Victor.

Source: Flight International