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.