Electronic Weapons: March 1, 2002

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The Air Force has begun a program to replace the radars in 165 F-15C fighters with the improved APG-63(V)1. This is a more reliable radar, able to operate an average of 168 hours without a failure. The current APG-63s break down an average of every 12 hours and are the primary cause for F-15Cs to abort their missions. The program may be expanded to as many as 210 aircraft. The Air Force has been experimenting with the APG-63(V)2, which includes an Active Electronically Scanned Array. This is a vastly more capable design which can selectively jam individual enemy fighters and ground radars with a narrow beam. The V2 is, however, based on older technology. When the Air Force finds the money, the APG-63(V)1 is designed for easy upgrade into the APG-63(V)3 which will have this AESA capability using newer technology. The APG-70 radars in the F-15E fleet may also be upgraded to a newer design, possibly the APG-63(V)3 or a different system. Those F-15s which get the new radars will be the last of their breed to be retired and will, eventually, serve out their days in the Air National Guard.--Stephen V Cole

 


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