Unlike traditional mechanically scanned radars, SABR’s electronic scanning eliminates the need for moving parts. (Image courtesy of Northrop Grumman)

F-16 Electronic Scanning Radar Enhances Target Detection, Tracking

Oct. 6, 2014
The Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) will extend the radar capabilities and viability of F-16 aircraft thanks to the implementation of an electronically scanned area (AESA) fire-control radar.

Developed to replace the radar systems on F-16 aircraft, Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR)—a multi-function, active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire-control radar—offers fifth-generation capabilities and boosts system reliability. Recently, Northrop Grumman demonstrated the maturity of the radar, successfully concluding all engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) design reviews for the AN/APG-83 SABR.

Unlike traditional mechanically scanned radars, SABR’s electronic scanning eliminates the need for moving parts. The single, consolidated line-replaceable unit contains the receiver, exciter, and process functions. Solid-state electronics foster three- to five-times greater reliability versus current fire-control radar systems. Electronically scanned beams accelerate area searches, resulting in earlier and longer range target detections and tracking. This also ensures rapid target updates and enables interleaved mode operations for greater mission effectiveness, situational awareness, and survivability.

SABR utilizes a larger-area, high-definition, synthetic aperture radar capability named “BIG SAR.” This alternative mode provides pilots with detailed target areas and digital map displays that can be precisely tailored. This, too, enables greater situational awareness, as well as more flexibility and quicker all-weather targeting.

Watch a video from Northrop Grumman below for more on the SABR AESA radar.

The SABR’s design allows for easy retrofitting, thus avoiding modification of the aircraft’s structure or changes to existing power and cooling provisions. It’s also scalable to a variety of other aircraft configurations. With completion of all required system, hardware, and software design reviews for the SABR, Northrop Grumman will now prepare the radar for delivery.

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