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C4iSR: Air

Raytheon selected for B-52 radar replacement

12 July 2019
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Boeing has selected Raytheon to equip the B-52 with its AESA radar technology. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

Boeing has selected Raytheon to replace the obsolete radar on the US Air Force's (USAF's) B-52H Strafortress strategic bombers, it was announced on 11 July.

Under the contract, (the value was not disclosed) Raytheon will design, develop, produce, and sustain active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar systems for the USAF's fleet of 77 B-52 bombers (one of which is being reactivated from the 'boneyard' at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base). The radar is based on AESA technologies developed from the AN/APG-79/82 family, though it has not yet been given a designation of its own.

Raytheon noted that low-rate initial production (LRIP) will begin in 2024, as the USAF looks to maintain the B-52 in frontline service through to 2050 and beyond.

The USAF looked at several options to satisfy its Radar Modernization Program (RMP) to replace the B-52's now obsolete Northrop Grumman AN/APQ-166 mechanically-scanned radar. Speaking previously to Jane's, a senior USAF official noted, "It's an old radar. It doesn't have the reliability we'd like to have, and if you're flying long-duration missions and you get to a two-digit mean time between failure, it means you're flying around with a broken radar a lot."

These options included the AN/APG-83 AESA system that was being offered by the incumbent radar supplier, Northrop Grumman.

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