EXCLUSIVE: IAF Wants Extra Radar Mode On MMRCA AESAs

For all the stated technological advancements present in the only two operational AESA radars competing in the MMRCA competition, the Indian Air Force has informed the two principle integrators (Boeing and Lockheed-Martin respectively) that radar modes available on the Northrop-Grumman AN/APG-80 radar (F-16IN) and the Raytheon AN/APG-79 (F/A-18E/F) do not include a specific one that the IAF refuses to do without: the "weather radar mode". Though both Boeing and Lockheed-Martin tried to convince the IAF that their respective radars (and integrated avionics) were built to provide data and flightpath solutions through, over or around bad weather, the IAF has insisted that it wants the AESAs offered with a traditional weather radar mode as a separate mode option. The default modes demanded by the IAF, excluding interleaved and data-fused modes, are air-to-air search, air-to-air track, ocean surface search, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mapping, ground/sea target indicator and track and active beam mapping.

Lockheed-Martin has made it official now that the APG-80 radar will therefore undergo a certain amount of further development work to meet the IAF's requirement. This applies to Raytheon as well.

Photo by Shiv Aroor / Raytheon APG-79, Lemoore Naval Air Station, California

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