Successful First Flights Conducted Using Northrop Grumman-Developed Radar for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
BALTIMORE, Sept. 8, 2005 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has begun initial flight testing of the advanced fire-control radar being developed for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft. The radar is designed to enable F-35 pilots to effectively engage air and ground targets at long range, while also providing outstanding situational awareness for enhanced survivability.
Designated the AN/APG-81, the active electronically scanned array radar was first flown on Aug. 23 and 25 on Northrop Grumman's BAC-1-11 testbed aircraft. During the flights, the all-aspect search, air-track and synthetic-aperture radar mode capabilities of the radar were successfully evaluated against airborne and ground-based targets.
"The outstanding performance of the radar on these initial flights underscores the intense development effort under way on the F-35 mission avionics and marks the culmination of a successful design, hardware build, software development and systems integration process," said John C. Johnson, vice president of Combat Avionics Systems at Northrop Grumman. "We expect to accelerate the validation of the radar performance during the flight-test program and progress with the systems-integration effort ahead of schedule."
The radar's first flight tests in the BAC-1-11 aircraft were conducted over the local airspace in the vicinity of Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector headquarters complex adjacent to the Baltimore/Washington International Airport. In November, the first F-35 radar system will be delivered to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, Tex., where it will be installed into the JSF Mission Systems Integration Lab and tested with other F-35 mission-avionics systems.
The F-35 is a stealthy, supersonic multi-role fighter designed to replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft. Three variants derived from a common design will ensure the F-35 meets the performance needs of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and allied defense forces worldwide, while staying within strict affordability targets.
In addition to providing the radar, Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector is providing the AN/AAS-37 electro-optical distributed aperture system for the F-35. The distributed aperture system will provide F-35 pilots with a unique protective sphere around the aircraft for missile warning, navigation support and night operations.
Northrop Grumman plays a critical role in the development and demonstration of the F-35. Responsibilities range from integrating a major section of the aircraft's structure to producing key avionics and communications subsystems to developing mission-planning software and training systems.
Northrop Grumman's support of the F-35 program spans five of its seven sectors. In addition to the Electronic Systems sector's work, the Integrated Systems sector is a principal F-35 teammate designing and building the center fuselage and providing systems test, vehicle systems, mission systems and autonomic-logistics products and service. The Mission Systems sector provides system and software engineering support for the mission planning system. The Space Technology sector provides the integrated communications, navigation and identification avionics suite. The Information Technology sector, in joint efforts with Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support, provides training management software.