Northrop Grumman Corporation has begun initial flight testing of the advanced
fire-control radar being developed for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike
Fighter (JSF) aircraft. The radar is designed to enable F-35 pilots to
effectively engage air and ground targets at long range, while also providing
outstanding situational awareness for enhanced survivability.
Designated the AN/APG-81, the active electronically scanned array radar was
first flown on August 23 and 25 on Northrop Grumman's BAC-1-11 testbed aircraft.
During the flights, the all-aspect search, air-track and synthetic-aperture
radar mode capabilities of the radar were successfully evaluated against
airborne and ground-based targets.
The radar's first flight tests in the BAC-1-11 aircraft were conducted over the
local airspace in the vicinity of Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector
headquarters complex adjacent to the Baltimore/Washington International Airport.
In November, the first F-35 radar system will be delivered to Lockheed Martin
Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, where it will be installed into the JSF
Mission Systems Integration Lab and tested with other F-35 mission-avionics
The F-35 is a stealthy, supersonic multi-role fighter designed to replace a wide
range of aging fighter and strike aircraft. Three variants derived from a common
design will ensure the F-35 meets the performance needs of the US Air Force, US
Marine Corps, US Navy and allied defense forces worldwide, while staying within
strict affordability targets.
In addition to providing the radar, Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector
is providing the AN/AAS-37 electro-optical distributed aperture system for the
F-35. The distributed aperture system will provide F-35 pilots with a unique
protective sphere around the aircraft for missile warning, navigation support
and night operations.
Northrop Grumman plays a critical role in the development and demonstration of
the F-35. Responsibilities range from integrating a major section of the
aircraft's structure to producing key avionics and communications subsystems to
developing mission-planning software and training systems.
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