The US Air Force has decided to make Raytheon compete against Northrop Grumman for a contract to upgrade the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle’s radar with an active electronically scanned array (AESA).

Raytheon has already integrated its APG-63(V)2 AESA system on 18 F-15Cs stationed in Alaska and saw an upgraded APG-63(V)3/4 version using a tile array and a new processor as a natural candidate for the F-15E fleet. But the USAF has decided the order should be decided by a competition, says Darryl Davis, Boeing’s vice-president of global strike.

Raytheon’s AESA will face competition from Northrop’s APG-77 system installed on the USAF’s Lockheed Martin/Boeing F/A-22 Raptors. Although it is compatible with the F-15, Northrop needs to study the integration requirements for the Strike Eagle, says business development director Scott Porter.

Upgrading the F-15E fleet is part of a broader, high-level debate about the future of the USAF’s fighter inventory, but senior USAF officials have publicly expressed interest in a concept to upgrade up to 150 aircraft with AESA radars.

The Air National Guard plans to upgrade 48 F-15Cs with the APG-63 radar over the next six years.

Source: Flight International