NAVAIR's Next Generation AESA Radar Takes First Flight in a Super Hornet

Story Number: NNS030819-15Release Date: 8/20/2003 5:01:00 AM
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From Program Executive Office for Tactical Aircraft Programs Public Affairs

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- The first flight of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) integrated APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar was flown in a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet at NAVAIR China Lake, Calif., July 30.

The flight marked another milestone in the spiral development of the aircraft by commencing an extensive flight test program with the APG-79 installed. The new radar will make the F/A-18 aircraft an even more powerful precision strike platform, providing revolutionary capability to the fleet.

"We are continually increasing the capabilities that puts the 'super' in Super Hornet", said NAVAIR F/A-18 Program Manager Capt. B.D. Gaddis. "This is a major step toward making the F/A-18 all that we've planned it to be."

The AESA radar system was integrated in the F/A-18 by prime contractor The Boeing Company, of St Louis, Mo., and built under a subcontract by Raytheon Corporation of El Segundo, Calif. The integrated NAVAIR and Industry team expect to deliver the radar to the fleet by 2006.

Performance and capabilities of current airborne radars are limited by the speed of the mechanically scanned antennas. In an active array radar like the APG-79, the radar beam can be steered at close to the speed of light. This rapid beam scan feature enables superior performance and capabilities.

The APG-79 radar's Multi-Function Array is comprised of numerous solid state transmit and receive modules, or T/R modules. Because the array is solid state, mechanical breakdowns are virtually eliminated, leading to dramatic improvements in reliability and lower cost, all achieved with tremendous performance enhancements.

The APG-79 is more lethal, more survivable, more reliable and more affordable than its mechanical cousins.

"The AESA radar system is part of a spiral development designed into the Super Hornet as part of its promised leading-edge technology," said Tony Parasida, Boeing vice president for the F/A-18 program. "The Super Hornet was designed with room for growth - room to incorporate new technologies now and to enhance the aircraft's network centric capability."

NAVAIR provides advanced warfare technology through the efforts of a seamless, integrated, worldwide network of aviation technology experts.

For related news, visit the NAVAIR - Naval Air Systems Command Navy NewsStand page at

An F/A-18F Super Hornet makes an arrested landing on the flight deck aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68)
Official U.S. Navy file photo of an F/A-18F Super Hornet. July 30 marked the first flight of Naval Air Systems Command's integrated APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, flown in a Super Hornet in China Lake, Calif.
July 29, 2003
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