The US Navy has selected the Raytheon AN/APG-79(V)4 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to replace the AN/APG-73 mechanically scanned radar on about 75 US Marine Corps F/A-18C/D classic Hornets spread across seven squadrons.
The (V)4 is a development of the APG-79 AESA integrated with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block II and EA-18G Growler, and has been scaled and repackaged for the classic Hornet’s smaller nose aperture. Raytheon says it shares about 90 per cent commonality with the Super Hornet’s radar.
“With AESA radars, fighter jet pilots and crews tip the scales in their favour over their adversaries,” Raytheon Secure Sensor Solutions vice president, Eric Ditmars said in a statement. “Now that the APG-79(v)4 is slated to fly on the classic Hornet, Marine Corps pilots will be able to identify, track, and engage more targets over a greater distance than ever before.”
The USMC is currently taking delivery of Lockheed Martin F-35B fighters, but these will replace AV-8B Harrier IIs first before the classic Hornet fleet is drawn down in the late 2020s. To this end, in recent years Boeing has been structurally refurbishing in-service USMC classic Hornets and aircraft that have been regenerated from the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) ‘Boneyard’ to extend the fleet’s service life.
The AESA radar has fewer moving parts than a mechanically scanned array, and this combined with its commonality with US Navy APG-79 sets will reduce maintenance costs and address obsolescence issues with the APG-73, while also enhancing airborne target detection range and the number of targets than can be simultaneously tracked.
In total, 98 APG-79(V)4s will be acquired for the USMC jets, with deliveries expected to run from 2020 to 2022.