Electronic Weapons: F-22 Joins The Infantry


February 18, 2008: The AN/APG-77 radar on the F-22 has been tweaked so that it can produce photo-realistic images of what's on the ground. The AN/APG-77 is an AESA type radar, which consist of thousands of tiny radars that can be independently aimed in different directions. With sufficiently powerful computers on board, the AESA radar signals bounced back to the transmitter can be reassembled to provide a very realistic looking picture of what's out there.

AESA type radars have been around a long time, popular mainly for their ability deal with lots of targets simultaneously. But AESA is also able to focus a concentrated beam of radio energy that could scramble electronic components of a distant target. Sort of like the EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) put out by nuclear weapons. AESA has demonstrated that it can disable missiles and aircraft. Ballistic missiles are another story, as they are sturdier (to handle re-entry stress) and have fewer electronics to mess with.

Most U.S. warplanes are being equipped, or re-equipped with AESA radars. The U.S. Air Force is also publicizing any F-22 advantages it can find, in order to procure money to produce more of these fighters (at a cost of about $150 million each). At the moment, Congress is only allowing 183 F-22s to be built, but air force generals have openly vowed to scrounge up the cash to build twice as many.

An F-22 with the ability to use its radar to identify vehicles on the ground is not a real big deal. That's because many less expensive aircraft can do the same thing. Targeting pods are used for this all the time, although the AESA radar approach cuts through clouds, fog and sand storms. But if this approach were important enough, an AESA radar and computers could be mounted in, say, a B-52, that could then drop missiles or smart bombs on targets it found.


Article Archive

Electronic Weapons: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close