Northrop Grumman has just completed a fit test for its new Scalable Agile Beam Radar, installing it aboard an F-16 at Edwards AFB, Calif., according to a July 23 company release. Northrop has been flying SABR aboard its own test aircraft since November 2008. Last fall, Dave Wallace, Northrop’s manager of F-16 Sensor Program Development, said the company was using its own funds to develop the new active electronically scanned array sensor in anticipation that the Air Force and international F-16 operators would still by flying the F-16 for at least 10 more years and would need a new AESA radar to help bridge the gap to arrival of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Arlene Camp, director of Northrop’s advanced F-16 radar programs, said in the company release that the fit-check “is another important milestone leading up to a planned F-16 flight demonstration later this year.” The actual installation process, she said, “took less than five hours and assessed SABR’s design goals to integrate seamlessly within existing F-16 Block 50/52 physical constraints for interface to aircraft power, cooling, and avionics.” She added that Northrop has “continually improved the F-16’s radar performance and reliability” for more than 30 years.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.