CHINA LAKE, Calif., July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- A revolutionary Raytheon radar
that scans the skies at nearly the speed of light is navigating through flight
tests aboard the U.S. Navy F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet in anticipation of
operational readiness by September 2006.
In its first year of developmental flight testing, the APG-79 Active
Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system has successfully completed
more than 80 flights aboard three Super Hornet aircraft from test squadron VX-
31 "Dust Devils" at the Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake. The
first seven of the radar's many operating modes were successfully demonstrated
on the first attempt in flight: real-beam map; synthetic aperture radar
(SAR); air-to-air search; air-to-air track; passive; sea-surface search; and
"The Navy is extremely pleased to see the APG-79 radar in action," said
U.S. Navy F/A-18 Program Manager Capt. Donald "BD" Gaddis. "After its first
year in flight test, we're just beginning to see the system's true potential.
So far, the radar is demonstrating amazing situational awareness for Super
Hornet aircrew," he said.
When the APG-79 enters service in 2006, Super Hornet aviators for the
first time will be able to conduct air-to-air and air-to-ground operations
simultaneously. The agile AESA beam, traveling at almost the speed of light,
can be redirected instantaneously from one target to another for maximum
mission flexibility on cruise. The system also allows the aircraft to detect
and track multiple targets at much greater distance. This advantage permits
the crew to persistently observe targets and launch weapons from their maximum
range, both significant protective measures.
The APG-79 AESA system represents a giant leap forward in technology that
significantly improves warfighter capabilities compared to the current Super
Hornet radar, according to Wes Motooka, vice president for Raytheon Space and
Airborne Systems, whose organization produces the system.
"Because our AESA radar uses solid-state technology with no moving parts,
its performance and reliability far exceeds systems that scan mechanically,"
Motooka said. "And its ability to connect with on-board and off-board sensors
using MIDS and Link 16 will assure the Super Hornet's role in network-centric
operations," he said.
The radar was developed in record time by a team at Raytheon Space and
Airborne Systems (SAS) that worked with the Navy and prime contractor Boeing,
which builds the aircraft. The program has met every major acquisition
milestone to date.
"The APG-79 AESA system represents some of the finest hours in Raytheon's
80-plus-year history," SAS President Jack R. Kelble said. "Everything in this
system, from the array in the front, through the software that operates the
radar, to the processor in the back, is new. We're extremely pleased with the
radar's performance so far."
The APG-79 is the first entirely new airborne radar built by Raytheon in
three decades. The new system will equip the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the
E/A-18G, an electronic attack variant. The radar also meets requirements in
all facets of the Navy's transformation initiative, SeaPower 21.
Raytheon Company's Space and Airborne Systems (SAS) designs, develops and
manufactures advanced systems for precision engagement; missile defense; and
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Headquartered in El Segundo,
Calif., SAS has 11,000 employees and additional facilities in Goleta, Calif.;
Forest, Miss.; Dallas, McKinney and Plano, Texas; and several international
Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), with 2003 sales of $18.1 billion, is an
industry leader in defense and government electronics, space, information
technology, technical services, and business and special mission aircraft.
With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 78,000 people worldwide.
Note to Editors: Images of the APG-79 AESA radar system and SAR maps are
available on request.
SOURCE: Raytheon Company
Web site: http://www.raytheon.com/