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F-35 successfully tests APG-81 AESA

written by WOFA | June 23, 2010
F-35B BF-04 on its April 7 first flight. (Lockheed Martin)

The Lockheed Martin F-35B development aircraft BF-04 has successfully demonstrated its Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 AESA radar in recent testing.

“During the F-35 flight, the Northrop Grumman APG-81 radar met and exceeded performance expectations, tracking long range targets at all aspect angles with excellent stability,” said Jeff Leavitt, vice president of combat avionics at Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems sector. “We look forward to working with Lockheed Martin in demonstrating the APG-81’s high resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and other advanced capabilities on subsequent test flights.”

The APG-81 has been ‘flying’ since 2005 on Northrop Grumman’s BAC-111 testbed and subsequently on Lockheed Martin’s 737 based CATBird testbed, but this is its first application in an F-35 airframe. “These last five years of comprehensive test bed aircraft flight testing involving the mission critical radar sensor, combined with the recent flight aboard the F-35 aircraft, point to a significant maturity in capability and reduction in risk for the F-35 program,” Leavitt added.

BF-04 is the first JSF development aircraft to be equipped with mission systems including Block 0.5 mission software including 60 per cent of the radar’s software. It is based at NAS Patuxent River near Washington.


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