F-15E Radar Deal

The Air Force has awarded Boeing a $238 million contract for the system development and demonstration phase of the F-15E radar modernization program, the company announced yesterday. Under it, the Air Force intends to replace the APG-70 radars on all 224 of its F-15Es with a new multirole, active electronically scanned array system supplied by Raytheon. The new AESA radar, for which the Air Force has not yet approved a nomenclature, will improve the aircraft’s ability to detect and track targets, including small-sized ones, and offer an order-of-magnitude jump in reliability and reduced maintenance, representatives from both companies said during a teleconference yesterday. During SDD, Raytheon will build developmental and flight-test units and Boeing will integrate the radar onto the F-15E. Developmental flights and initial operational test and evaluation flights will also occur. Mike Henchey, Raytheon’s director of strategy and business development for air combat avionics, said the industry team is “very excited to see this [effort] move forward” because it “will produce a great capability for the warfighter.” The companies expect a production decision in 2011 with the first installations of production-version radars in 2013. The Air Force likely would declare the radar ready for operations in Fiscal 2014 after installation on at least 12 F-15Es. Henchey described the new AESA as a derivative of Raytheon’s APG-63 AESA radar that is already resident on some F-15Cs and going on more. It also incorporates antennae technology used in the APG-79 AESA system that is on Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets, and features modern processors.