F-16 Vipers from the 138th Fighter Wing participate in an elephant walk at the Tulsa Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma.
F-16 Vipers from the 138th Fighter Wing participate in an elephant walk at the Tulsa Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Guard 138th Fighter Wing F-16 Viper Fighters Receive Fifth-generation Radars

The 138th Fighter Wing is one of nine Air National Guard bases chosen to receive upgraded, fifth-generation radars for the F-16 Viper. These upgrades are part of a project known as Post Block Integration Team, which is one of the largest modernization efforts in the history of the U.S. Air Force. Maj. Richie Shuler, 125th Fighter Squadron chief of weapons and tactics, explained that the upgrades were a full component and software replacement which involved the removal of the old radar system that were replaced with an APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar. The new system has the ability to track more targets at longer ranges than the previous one.

“There is a very noticeable difference in how many targets we can track and the ranges. “This makes it easier for us to make decisions because more range equals more time when we’re fighting,” said U.S. Air Force. Maj. Richie Shuler.

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“The completion of these deliveries highlights Northrop Grumman’s continued commitment to rapidly fielding fifth-generation radar capability to the fleet to counter and defeat increasingly sophisticated threats to our nation and its allies,” said Mark Rossi, director of SABR programs for Northrop Grumman, in a company press release.

Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR)
Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR)

The upgrades began in 2017 when the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center awarded Northrop Grumman a contract worth $243 million to update the radars on the F-16. In total, 72 F-16s received the upgrade across the ANG, and according to the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, hundreds more are slated to get a combined upgrade package in the coming years. In addition to the installation of these radars, Tulsa’s fleet of F-16’s will be receiving multiple upgrades over the course of the next 10 years. It will help maintain our relevance as a primary fighting platform against both air threats and ground threats, as a premier multi-role fighter.

Northrop Grumman Corporation has adopted Lean-Agile methodologies in the development and integration of the active electronically scanned array (AESA) AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar software for the F-16 Viper fighter aircraft. The AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) features all-weather, high-resolution synthetic aperture radar mapping to present the pilot with a large surface image for more precise target identification and strike capabilities compared to legacy systems. The high degree of commonality, shared manufacturing processes and infrastructure drives affordability improvements across all of Northrop Grumman’s AESA radar programs.

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