Raytheon to Provide AESA Capabilities to 135 F/A-18s

EL SEGUNDO, CA -- The U.S. Navy is retrofitting 135 Super Hornets with Raytheon Company's APG-79 active electronically scanned array radar.

An initial contract worth nearly $55 million authorizes Raytheon to supply 19 AESA systems, spares and maintenance. This ensures Super Hornets manufactured before installation of the APG-79 will benefit from Raytheon's new advanced sensor technology.

The APG-79 program is moving toward full-rate production in anticipation of delivering 415 systems plus spares to the Navy and 24 systems to the Royal Australian Air Force in coming years.

"The retrofit program further enhances the Navy's airborne capabilities, ensuring our customer has game-changing sensor technology across the majority of its airborne assets," says Dr. Tom Kennedy, vice president for Raytheon's Tactical Airborne Systems business.

"Our operational AESA radar delivers a range of advanced options including non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, high-speed transfer of actionable information, unparalleled situational awareness, and targeting capabilities at greater ranges than ever."

Two AESA-equipped fleet squadrons are training for deployment expected in 2008. They are the Black Lions of VFA-213 at Naval Air Station Oceana and the Fighting Redcocks of VFA-22 at Naval Air Station Lemoore. AESA-equipped Super Hornets are also being added to two training squadrons so aircrews can learn how best to maximize the advanced capabilities of the APG-79.

"The APG-79 AESA radar is the key sensor in the flight plan for the Block II Super Hornets that will keep these aircraft dominant for decades," says Capt. Mark W. Darrah, F/A-18 and EA-18G Navy program manager. "The APG-79 AESA radar provides our warfighters with sensor data that will revolutionize how we employ the F/A-18E/F block II and EA-18G platforms. The radar serves as the key enabling capability to field F/A-18/ and EA-18G flight plan elements.

"From operational and maintenance viewpoints, we believe this new technology sets us apart and will give us the edge we need in the challenging battlespace in which we expect to operate well into the future."