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  • swerve
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Jun 2005
    • 13612

    The AESA radar retrofit market

    There are a few fighter types out there which will be around long enough to justify radar upgrades, & a smaller market for new radars for MPAs, helicopters, etc. I thought it'd be interesting to discuss the options.

    F-16: There are a lot of F-16s that could benefit from a radar upgrade. AFAIK three AESA radars have been put on the market aimed at F-16 retrofits: RACR & SABR, & Selex has shown a Vixen variant with an antenna sized for an F-16 nose.

    The only active competitions in this market I know of are Taiwan & S. Korea, both of which are currently looking at upgrading F-16s with either RACR or SABR. I've not heard of any possible Vixen F-16 customers.

    Who else might be in the market for AESAs for their F-16s? Might Elta get into the market?

    F-18: I think that F-18A-Ds are probably not going to get AESA upgrades.

    F-15: The USAF is upgrading its 'Golden Eagles', & the Saudis are negotiating over an AESA upgrade of their F-15Es. What other F-15 customers might do the same?

    Mirage 2000 - ditto. There are some with enough life left, but I'm not aware of anyone marketing such an upgrade.

    Typhoons & Rafales with original radars could get AESA upgrades, but I think this will depend on budgets. The Saudis may well opt for it.

    Gripen is interesting. The Raven radar for the NG can be fitted to current Gripens, so it's a possibility for upgrades for current operators & any Gripens sold secondhand.

    Others
    What others? MiGs? Su-27/30? What else?
    Last edited by swerve; 29th October 2011, 11:57. Reason: Formatting
    Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
    Justinian
  • obligatory
    Senior Member
    • Oct 2008
    • 7043

    #2
    AESA is vastly superior of detecting VLO, i assume India is looking into upgrading their Su-30 with AESA,
    I bet on Elta, or a domestic version, hence the insistence on AESA ToT from MMRCA

    http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...r-jammers.html

    But Estrada confirmed the AESA is designed to detect targets with small radar cross sections.
    "I don't know the specifics with the T-50," Estrada says,
    "but I will tell you that this -(V)3 radar is very capable of detecting low-RCS platforms".
    Last edited by obligatory; 29th October 2011, 00:47.

    Comment

    • Sign
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Oct 2008
      • 1579

      #3
      Originally posted by obligatory View Post
      AESA is vastly superior of detecting VLO, i assume India is looking into upgrading their Su-30 with AESA,
      I bet on Elta, or a domestic version, hence the insistence on AESA ToT from MMRCA

      http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...r-jammers.html

      But Estrada confirmed the AESA is designed to detect targets with small radar cross sections.
      "I don't know the specifics with the T-50," Estrada says,
      "but I will tell you that this -(V)3 radar is very capable of detecting low-RCS platforms".
      The Pesa is wastly superior in side range and scan volume.(still..)
      Last edited by Sign; 29th October 2011, 01:10.

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      • TR1
        TR1
        http://tiny.cc/tp8kd
        • Oct 2010
        • 9826

        #4
        Originally posted by obligatory View Post
        AESA is vastly superior of detecting VLO, i assume India is looking into upgrading their Su-30 with AESA,
        I bet on Elta, or a domestic version, hence the insistence on AESA ToT from MMRCA
        The Indian Su-30 AESA will either be a Phazatron or NIIP set, that much is 100% sure.
        sigpic

        Comment

        • 35 AoA
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Nov 2010
          • 260

          #5
          Originally posted by swerve View Post

          I think that F-18A-Ds are probably not going to get AESA upgrades.
          I wish they would give em to us, but you are correct.....no AESA planned anymore for the legacy Hornets. Other high lot upgrades across the board, but they pretty much gave up on that one.

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          • haavarla
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Dec 2008
            • 6715

            #6
            Originally posted by Sign View Post
            The Pesa is wastly superior in side range and scan volume.(still..)
            And scanning time. PESA make shorter time to scan the same volume as AESA.
            Dunno why this is, could be the signal prossessing taking shorter time due to AESA have higher scan resolution, IMO more signal/data for prossessing..?
            Last edited by haavarla; 29th October 2011, 05:46.
            Thanks

            Comment

            • rsetiawan
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Jun 2006
              • 271

              #7
              emmm... just want to asking...
              could we put and integrate AESA radar to older generation such as F-16A/B or early mirage 2000 ? and will the cost worth it ? will it make them able to fight against says.... f-16 block 50, f18f and such ?

              Comment

              • haavarla
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Dec 2008
                • 6715

                #8
                One constrain would be insufficiant power to operate new AESA radars.
                Thanks

                Comment

                • Sintra
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Aug 2007
                  • 3851

                  #9
                  Originally posted by haavarla View Post
                  One constrain would be insufficiant power to operate new AESA radars.
                  The RACR and SABR sets are squarely aimed at older Viper generations.
                  sigpic

                  Comment

                  • i.e.
                    Senior Member
                    • Dec 2010
                    • 1086

                    #10
                    seriously.

                    who opens its radar and scan for your opposite number anymore!

                    Comment

                    • J-20 Hotdog
                      Senior Member
                      • Mar 2008
                      • 3476

                      #11
                      Originally posted by haavarla View Post
                      One constrain would be insufficiant power to operate new AESA radars.
                      MiG-21 variant with aesa and F414 engine :diablo:

                      Comment

                      • DrSteel
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Feb 2011
                        • 10

                        #12
                        Originally posted by haavarla View Post
                        One constrain would be insufficiant power to operate new AESA radars.
                        Wouldn't cooling the array be an even bigger issue in most cases?

                        Comment

                        • obligatory
                          Senior Member
                          • Oct 2008
                          • 7043

                          #13
                          Yes, that is my understanding.

                          Comment

                          • djcross
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Jan 2000
                            • 5464

                            #14
                            Yes, providing sufficient power and cooling to operate the AESA can be a problem.

                            Another potential concern is the ability to handle and display the AESA's data output. Ancient 8-bit computers, display processors, multi-function displays and HUDs are not up to the task unless the AESA systems' data rate and message format is dialed back to match 1970s technology.

                            Comment

                            • swerve
                              Rank 5 Registered User
                              • Jun 2005
                              • 13612

                              #15
                              True, but who is likely to fit AESA radars to otherwise unmodified old fighters? Everyone who does a radar upgrade (Grifo or EL/M-2032 in F-5E, RDY-3 in Mirage F.1, etc) upgrades other avionics at the same time. Chile has some ex-Dutch F-16A/B - & they had their original computers replaced many years ago, by the Dutch.

                              One of the factors in deciding whether an upgrade is worthwhile is what else will need to be done, & how that affects the cost/benefit ratio. I think F-16A/Bs are unlikely won't get RACR, SABR etc. because they won't have enough airframe hours left to justify the cost.

                              F-16C/Ds, however . . . . Taiwan & S. Korea are doing it. Who else will? And when? There must be a crossover point for each aircraft. A middle-aged F-16 recently updated with APG-68(v)9 may not be worth it, being good enough until it's scrapped, but a new F-16 Block 50/52 will be one day.

                              And so on for other types.
                              Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
                              Justinian

                              Comment

                              • SpudmanWP
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Jan 2009
                                • 5292

                                #16
                                Originally posted by DrSteel View Post
                                Wouldn't cooling the array be an even bigger issue in most cases?
                                NG's SABR and Raytheon's RACR are "drop in" replacements for F-16s and are specifically made to fit within the power and cooling requirements.
                                "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

                                Comment

                                • Sign
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Oct 2008
                                  • 1579

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by haavarla View Post
                                  One constrain would be insufficiant power to operate new AESA radars.
                                  Also weight.
                                  An AESA weight much more in the frontend.

                                  Comment

                                  • SpudmanWP
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • Jan 2009
                                    • 5292

                                    #18
                                    SABR and RACR weigh LESS than the MSA in the F-16
                                    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

                                    Comment

                                    • Sign
                                      Rank 5 Registered User
                                      • Oct 2008
                                      • 1579

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by haavarla View Post
                                      And scanning time. PESA make shorter time to scan the same volume as AESA.
                                      Dunno why this is, could be the signal prossessing taking shorter time due to AESA have higher scan resolution, IMO more signal/data for prossessing..?
                                      Yes, a "pencil wide" radar lobe resolution needs more time to travel from point A to B. to scan the same volume and more pulses to reach B.
                                      Last edited by Sign; 30th October 2011, 17:01.

                                      Comment

                                      • Sign
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • Oct 2008
                                        • 1579

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by djcross View Post
                                        Yes, providing sufficient power and cooling to operate the AESA can be a problem.

                                        Another potential concern is the ability to handle and display the AESA's data output. Ancient 8-bit computers, display processors, multi-function displays and HUDs are not up to the task unless the AESA systems' data rate and message format is dialed back to match 1970s technology.
                                        next gen AESA would have better efficencies, the power itself should not be a big problem, and can be regulated in radarmodes. the cooling of an AESA, is often a "internal problem" in an X-band antenna due to the small antenna size.

                                        Comment

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