Lockheed hopes to choose between RACR and SABR in July

Washington DC
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Lockheed Martin hopes to select a new radar for the US Air Force's F-16 Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite (CAPES) programme between July and August, a company official says. Lockheed will provide the radar for the USAF upgrade programme as contractor furnished equipment.

"We've sent out the RFPs [request for proposals]," says Bill McHenry, Lockheed's F-16 business development director. "We anticipate the selection in the July/August timeframe."

The Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) is battling against Northrop Grumman's Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) in a competition that is being administered by Lockheed. Both radars use active electronically scanned array antennas, replacing mechanically-scanned Northrop Grumman APG-68 systems.

 

 USAF

McHenry says most of the other components of the CAPES upgrade are being provided by the USAF as government furnished equipment. Components include a new center pedestal display, Terma ALQ-213 electronic warfare controllers, integrated broadcast system and other modifications.

Once a new radar is selected, it will take about three years of development before Lockheed can begin to assemble modification kits for installation. "Kit deliveries will begin in the 2017 timeframe," McHenry says.

The USAF hopes to modify about 300 of its healthiest F-16 airframes, but foreign partners may also buy upgrade kits. Taiwan, McHenry says, is leveraging the USAF modernization programme for its own F-16A model fleet-those aircraft will also be delivered about 2017. South Korea, however, has opted for BAE Systems to upgrade their F-16s and has recently announced they will install the RACR on their jets.

The CAPES kit could also be installed on new build aircraft, McHenry says. Lockheed anticipates it can sell about 100 more jets, mostly in the Middle East and Asia.