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US Navy issues RFI for Marine Corps F/A-18 radar upgrade

180317-N-FK070-0120 ATLANTIC OCEAN (March 17, 2018) Finnish Air Force Capt. Juha Jarvinen lands an F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the Sharpshooters of Marine Strike Fighter Training Squadron (VMFAT) 101 on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). This marks the first time a Finnish pilot has performed an arrested landing aboard an aircraft carrier. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur/Released)

A Marine Corps F/A-18C traps aboard a US carrier. (US Navy)

The US Navy issued a request for information (RFI) on March 20 to industry for the integration of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system with US Marine Corps F/A-18C/D ‘classic’ Hornets.

The new radar would replace the current AN/APG-73 system – which is facing obsolescence and sustainability issues – on 84 of the Marines’ classic Hornets in seven squadrons of 12 aircraft each.

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

Apart from capability improvements in range and target discrimination, AESA radars have fewer moving parts and are therefore far more reliable. The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) says the new radar should require no changes to the Hornet’s current radar interfaces, and that integration work would commence in the 2020 to 2022 timeframe.

At least two companies are expected to respond to the RFI – Northrop Grumman with its AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam radar (SABR), and Raytheon with its AN/APG-82(V)1 Raytheon Advanced Capability Radar (RACR) which is a scaled-down development of the Super Hornet’s AN/APG-79 AESA.


Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-83 SABR (above) and Raytheon’s AN/APG-82 RACR (below) are expected to be respondents to NAVAIR’s RFI for a US Maine Corps classic Hornet radar upgrade.