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18 Mar 15. USAF developing new F-16 radars. The USAF has budgeted $25m to begin development of new radars for its F-16 fleet, a need especially felt by the service’s homeland defense mission.
Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke, director of the Air National Guard, said the upgrade is needed for surveillance and the ability to detect targets.
“It’s a deficit and we need to address this,” Clarke told the House Appropriations defense subcommittee Tuesday.
The service earlier this month filed a “sources sought” notice to contractors for information on the development of an active electronically scanned array radar for the F-16.
Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told lawmakers on Tuesday that the service has budgeted money to begin development, and would like to spend about $75m “if we can find the funding” to build the radars for the entire F-16 fleet.
“We need to develop an AESA radar plan for our F-16s who are conducting the homeland defense mission in particular,” Welsh told the House Armed Services Committee. “Our entire fleet – active, Guard and Reserve – none of them have been upgraded with that radar.”
The service estimates it would spend $3.2m per aircraft to install an integrated AESA radar.
“We think that’s the way to go,” Welsh said. “We’re looking now at how we can do that as we move forward.”
The Air Force originally sought the upgrade in the fiscal 2013 budget request, but it was cut as part of cost reductions imposed in the Budget Control Act.
First Air Force, the numbered Air Force responsible for the homeland protection mission, earlier this month filed an “Urgent Operational Need” request for radar upgrades to its F-16 fleet. These requests are used to identify needs “during a current conflict or crisis situation that if not satisfied in an expedited manner, will result in unacceptable loss of life or critical mission failure,” the Air Force said in a statement. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
17 Mar 15. Dual Band radar swapped out in new Carriers. In something of a surprise move, the US Navy revealed the long-touted dual band radar (DBR) being installed in new carriers of the Gerald R. Ford class will only be fitted on the first ship, and a new, yet-to-be-chosen radar will be installed on subsequent ships. The revelation came Tuesday as Rear Adm. Thomas Moore, program executive officer for aircraft carriers, spoke at the McAleese Credit Suisse defense conference in Washington. Moore indicated the move, decided upon last fall, was not due to particular problems with the DBR, now under development by Raytheon. Rather, he said, the decision was based on economics and need. “It’s a very capable radar,” he said of the DBR, but analysis showed the carrier didn’t need all the system’s capabilities. The move to the EASR, he told reporters, could save up to $120m on the second ship, the John F. Kennedy. A specific EASR radar has not been chosen, Moore said, noting that “several candidates” were on the market. Raytheon has been working on the EASR concept under a $6m study and demonstration contract awarded in June 2014 by the Office of Naval Research. The ONR study, according to a press release, is intended to “leverage proven Radar Modular Assembly (RMA) architecture matured on Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR).” The EASR, like the AMDR — also under development by Raytheon to replace SPY-1 radars in new Aegis combat systems — is intended to be a scalable family of radars tailored to suit different sizes of ships. The complex DBR suite was once intended to be a cornerstone of a new combat system, fitted on DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers and CVN 78 Ford-class carriers. The system combines a SPY-3 X-band multifunction radar with a SPY-4 S-band volume search radar. The Navy decided in 2010 to remove the SPY-4 radar from the Zumwalt destroyers as a cost-reductio