F-16 AESA Upgrade Recompetes

The Air Force is reopening competition to replace the F-16’s legacy radar with a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, Air Combat Command boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle said Wednesday. The FY17 budget request supports NORAD and US Northern Command urgent operational request to upgrade a tota?l of 52 alert F-16s to enable them to more effectively defend key US cities against cruise missile and other threats. The Air Force’s F-16 Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite (CAPES) that fell prey to sequestration included a new AESA but “the decision was already made … that we’re going to recomplete,” Carlisle said speaking at AWS16. Northrop Grumman’s APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) initially beat out the proposed Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar (RACR) but the Air Force will not be “taking it directly” from CAPES. Carlisle said he is pushing to eventually upgrade the entire legacy F-16 fleet “within the resources that I have … to make it a more viable fourth generation platform.” In addition to new AESA “there are more things that I’d like to do” including updating the F-16’s self-defensive suite with modern, digital systems. “F-16s are going to be around for a long time. We need to upgrade them,” he said.