Boeing [NYSE: BA] and subcontractor Raytheon have rolled out the integrated APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar to be used in the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, in a ceremony at Raytheon facilities in El Segundo, Calif. Yesterday's ceremony marks another milestone in the evolution of the F/A-18E/F fighter jet as the premier weapons platform for the 21st century U.S. Navy.
"AESA is just the next step in the development of the Super Hornet," said Boeing AESA manager, Don Thole. "When we first began to develop the F/A-18E/F, we set out to build the world's most adaptable, flexible and lethal weapon system. The Super Hornet has always been a great tool in the Navy's arsenal and the AESA makes it more survivable, supportable and affordable."
The AESA radar upgrade will be integrated throughout the entire F/A-18E/F weapons system, including its advanced mission computer integration, cockpit displays integration, the environmental control system and engine integration. AESA works with several existing elements of the weapon system, such as the stores management system, the gun director, and AIM-120 and AIM-9 missiles to enhance the lethality, survivability and affordability of the F/A-18E/F. AESA will increase situational awareness of the battlespace, reduce observability of the aircraft and provide significantly improved operational capability in a weapons platform that already provides superior air and ground attack maneuverability and accuracy.
The new radar, expected to be delivered as part of the F/A-18E/F by 2005, replaces mechanically scanned antennas with a radar beam that can be steered at close to the speed of light. This rapid beam scan feature improves performance dramatically, and because the array is solid state, mechanical breakdowns will be virtually eliminated. Following the laboratory development phase, the radar will be extensively tested at Naval Air Weapons Center, China Lake, Calif., beginning in 2003.
The Boeing Company is the world's largest manufacturer of satellites, commercial jetliners and military aircraft. In terms of sales, Boeing is the largest exporter in the United States. Total company revenues for 2001 were $58 billion.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $23 billion business. It provides systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.