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Northrop Grumman delivers 500th AESA radar for F-35 program

Northrop Grumman has confirmed delivery of its 500th AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array fire-control radar for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

Northrop Grumman has confirmed delivery of its 500th AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array fire-control radar for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

The Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array is the cornerstone of the F-35’s advanced sensor suite, providing unparalleled battlespace situational awareness that translates into platform lethality, effectiveness and survivability. 

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Chris Fitzpatrick, director of F-35 programs at Northrop Grumman, welcomed the milestone delivering, saying, “As a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 industry team, our continued investment in facilities and equipment, production enhancements in process and design, and expanded supply chain capability through second sourcing helped reach this milestone.”

The AN/APG-81 radar has long-range active and passive air-to-air and air-to-ground modes that support a wide range of demanding missions. These modes are complemented by an array of stealth features as well as electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance functions.

“The 500th delivery of this top-of-the-line fighter radar was made possible by our continuous focus on quality and excellence across our company,” Fitzpatrick added.

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Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernisation, sustainment and production of the F-35.

In addition to producing the AN/APG-81 radar, the company manufactures the centre fuselage and wing skins for the aircraft, produces and maintains several sensor systems, avionics, mission systems and mission-planning software, pilot and maintainer training systems courseware, electronic warfare simulation test capability, and low-observable technologies.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, space, strike, and logistics and modernisation to customers worldwide.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is billed as a catalyst for the fifth-generation revolution, changing the face and capability of the Royal Australian Air Force and the wider Australian Defence Force.

For the RAAF, the F-35A’s combination of full-spectrum low-observable stealth coatings and materials, advanced radar-dispersing shaping, network-centric sensor and communications suites – combined with a lethal strike capability – means the aircraft will be the ultimate force multiplying, air-combat platform.

The F-35A – the variant chosen by the RAAF – will have with a projected life of 30 years in service.

Ten nations are currently flying F-35s, including the US, UK, Italy, Norway, Israel and Japan. The firsts of Australia’s F-35A aircraft are now based on home soil after a period of training and development at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona USA, plus an epic Pacific Ocean crossing in December 2018.

Over the coming years, Australia will purchase 72 of the advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft as part of the $17 billion AIR 6000 Phase 2A/B program – which is aimed at replacing the ageing F-18A/B Classic Hornets that have been in service with the RAAF since 1985.

Northrop Grumman delivers 500th AESA radar for F-35 program
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