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Northrop Grumman looks to expand SABR radars beyond fighter jets

Northrop Grumman's APG-83 SABR is designed for the F-16, however, officials say that other platforms could use the SABR technology. (Janes/Gillian Rich)

The US Air Force (USAF) Air National Guard (ANG) has completed its rollout of Northrop Grumman's AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) for its Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft. Northrop Grumman is now eyeing potential platforms, other than fighter jets, for its active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

Mark Rossi, director of Scalable Agile Beam Radar programmes at Northrop Grumman, told Janes that while the AN/APG-83 was designed for the F-16, the C-130 community is interested in the SABR technology.

The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules is a turboprop transport aircraft and does not need some of the radar's air-to-air capabilities that fighter jets would utilise. However, Rossi said that the C-130 is only fitted with a weather radar, and that SABR could provide air-to-ground capabilities and give the C-130s improved situational awareness.

“If you think about a C-130, they do not fly very fast. So, the more they know about what's ahead of them, the further they can see, the better.”

The SABR APG-83 for the F-16 is an AESA radar that operates at 8 GHz to 12.5 GHz (X-band). Northrop Grumman said that 95% of SABR's mode suite comes directly from the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter AN/APG-81 AESA radar.

Northrop Grumman also said that the radar is scalable, meaning it can “meet the unique form factor, power, and cooling provisions for a wide variety of aircraft configurations”.

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