Northrop Grumman to provide fire-control radar systems for F-16 upgrades in potential billion-dollar order

Jan. 9, 2020
Northrop Grumman capitalizes on technologies developed for the APG-77 and APG-81 radar systems on the U.S. F-22 and F-35 combat aircraft.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – U.S. Air Force aerial radar experts are ordering hundreds of modern active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for F-16 jet fighter aircraft under terms of a seven-year order announced last month worth more than a billion dollars.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Fighter Bomber Directorate, F-16 Division, at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, announced a $1 billion order on 19 Dec. to the Northrop Grumman Corp. Mission Systems segment in Linthicum Heights, Md., for as many as 372 AN/APG-83 AESA radar systems for the F-16.

The APG-83 AESA fire-control scalable agile-beam radar (SABR) integrates within the F-16’s structural, power, and cooling constraints without Group A aircraft modification, Northrop Grumman officials say. The company leverages technology developed for the APG-77 and APG-81 radar systems on the U.S. F-22 and F-35 combat aircraft.

This order is a modification to a $243.9 million Air Force contract to Northrop Grumman in May 2017 for 72 APG-83 radars, spare parts, and support services.

Related: Lockheed Martin wins $308.3 million contract modification to upgrade radars on Taiwan F-16 jet fighters

In a 2013 competition, Lockheed Martin Corp., the F-16 manufacturer, selected the APG-83 as the AESA radar for the F-16 modernization and update programs of the U.S. Air Force and Taiwan air force.

The bandwidth, speed, and agility of AESA radars enable legacy fighter aircraft like the F-16 to detect, track, and identify many targets quickly and at long ranges, and to operate in hostile electronic warfare (EW) environments.

Northrop Grumman is building APG-83 radar systems for global F-16 upgrades and new aircraft production, as well as for the U.S. Air National Guard. Northrop Grumman also has installed a production APG-83 SABR on a U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet jet fighter-bomber, company officials say.

On this order Northrop Grumman will do the work in Linthicum Heights, Md., and should be finished by May 2027. For more information contact Northrop Grumman Mission Systems online at, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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