The U.S. Navy has awarded Boeing [NYSE: BA] a contract worth $61.8 million for a second low-rate initial production run of the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and E/A-18G aircraft.
The LRIP2 contract calls for production of 12 of the AESA APG-79 radar systems, including radars, radomes and shields. Production of the LRIP2 radar is scheduled to begin March 2004, with delivery of the first LRIP2 radar-equipped aircraft scheduled for December 2005. The radars will be installed in selected two-seat "F" model Super Hornets. The radar system currently is undergoing evaluation testing at Naval Air Systems Command, China Lake, Calif.
"The AESA radar is essential in the Super Hornet's role as the Navy's key strike fighter node in an integrated battlespace. It brings capabilities, such as multi-target tracking and increased situational awareness, to the F/A-18E/F that other naval aircraft simply don't have," said Tony Parasida, vice president for the F/A-18 program for Boeing.
The AESA radar, built by the Raytheon Corporation of El Segundo, Calif., is part of the F/A-18E/F Block II upgrade, which includes integration of advanced mission computers, high speed data network, cockpit controls and displays, environmental control system upgrade and forward fuselage affordability improvements. It 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.
The new radar replaces existing mechanically scanned antennas with a radar beam that can be steered at close to the speed of light. This rapid beam scan feature dramatically improves performance, and because the array is solid state, mechanical breakdowns will be virtually eliminated.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $27 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.