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  • Farnborough Airshow 2008
  • The latest fighters, future missiles, unmanned aerial systems, attack helicopters and special mission aircraft are all covered in the review of this year's Farnborough International Airshow.

  • Super Hornet Stings Back

    Packed with the new engines and the latest avionics, Boeing positions its F/A-18E/F as a worthy competitor for the F-35

Defense Update News:

New F-16 Avionics Upgrades Introduced at Farnborough 2008. Photo: Lockheed Martin

Despite the plans to replace the Falcons, the F-16 is not going away too soon, and several companies, primarily U.S. based are responding to requirements from current operators, to enhance the operational life of the aircraft and introduce new technologies that could extend its usability for many years. At Farnborough 08 Rayteon and Northrop Grumman displayed new radars, employing AESA technologies that could match the form and fit of current F-16 radars. Raytheon unveiled the Advanced Combat Radar (RACR), utilizing technologies derived from the APG-79 AESA radar used on the F/A-18E/F.


RACR _ AESA radar offered by Raytheon for upgrades of F-16s. Photo: Raytheon
Designed for the fighter retrofit market, the new radar can be employed as 'drop in' upgrade for F-16s from Block 30 onward, as well as F/A-18C/Ds operating with several air forces worldwide. The radar is designed with modular approach using self-contained cooling and power management systems to accommodate the limited space available in the aircraft nose and forward sections in a 'non intrusive' installation, minimizing modification and installation cost.

Northrop Grumman displayed a model of its Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) AESA radar, unveiled earlier this year in Singapore. This radar will fit into F-16s from Block 50/52 onward, as a drop-in replacement for the company's APG-69 mechanically scanning radar set.

Central Pedestal Display (CDP) - an upgrade proposed by Raytheon for the F-16. Photo: RaytheonAnother upgrade option from Raytheon is the replacement of backup flight instruments installed at the center of the cockpit with large, vertically mounted 6x8 inch multi-function color 'Center Pedestal Display' (CPD) unit. This display is optimally suitable to support situational awareness, digital map displays and video imaging which sofar suffered from lack of proper display capability in the cockpit. CPD is designed to operate in daylight and at night (NVIS) color modes. It is linked to the aircraft databus and communications systems, offering two-way situational awareness datalink (SADL) messaging.

This review covers the following topics: