Northrop-Grumman Conducts Testing of First Production MESA

Released on Tuesday, February 11, 2003
737 AEW&C
IFF - Identification Friend or Foe
MESA - Multirole Electronically Scanned Array
Northrop-Grumman has completed initial testing of the first production Multirole Electronically Scanned Array, MESA, radar antenna for Australia's Wedgetail AEW&C program.

The MESA exploits leading-edge technology by combining two side-looking phased arrays with an innovate end-firing "top-hat" antenna that emits and shapes a beam in the fore and aft directions. This combination makes MESA the first airborne surveillance radar that provides a 360-degree azimuth scan without mechanical rotation of a radar dish.

The MESA will be integrated into a modified Boeing 737-700 aircraft. The first of these platforms rolled off the factory in October 2002, Australian Defense Forces has purchased a total of 4 aircraft.

MESA radar, constructed of ultralight material, will be attached to the top aft section of the B737-700 fuselage. MESA enables state-of-the-art performance at a fraction of current systems weight and allowing more time on station for the aircraft.

Wedgetail program calls for a multirole surveillance platform, MESA using pulse Doppler radar forms for air search and pulse forms for maritime surface search. In Addition, MESA will provide integrated civil and military IFF capability.

The first flight of a MESA-equipped 737-700 is scheduled for early 2004.


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