C4iSR: Air

USMC to upgrade Hornets with new AESA radar

21 March 2018
The AN/APY-73 is suffering from serviceability issues and is to be replaced by a new AESA system on 84 of the USMC’s F/A-18C/D Hornet combat aircraft. Source: US DoD

The US Marine Corps (USMC) is to replace the radars of its Boeing F/A-18 legacy Hornets with a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) system.

A request for information (RFI) issued by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on 20 March calls for a new AESA system to replace the incumbent Raytheon AN/APG-73 radar on the USMC’s fleet of F/A-18C/D aircraft.

“The AN/APG-73 has been subject to ongoing maintainability, supportability, and readiness issues,” the RFI noted, adding, “AESA solutions are required due to the increased reliability and sustainability requirements, as well as the associated capability improvements.”

According to NAVAIR, the contract will begin on 1 October of this year with retrofits commencing in the fourth quarter of 2020 and running through to the fourth quarter of 2022. A total of 98 AESAs are to be procured to cover seven fleet squadrons of 12 aircraft each plus 14 spare systems. In its list of requirements, NAVAIR states that the new AESA should require no changes to the current radar-aircraft interfaces.

As the incumbent radar provider, Raytheon is likely to pitch its Raytheon Advanced Capability Radar (RACR) that has been adapted from the AN/APG-79 as fitted to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, and is scaled to be compatible with the legacy Hornet and the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon.

As the other prime radar provider to the US military, Northrop Grumman is expected to compete with its Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) that is also compatible with the legacy Hornet and F-16.

Interested parties have until 1500 h Eastern Standard Time on 6 April to respond to the RFI.

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