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AN/APG-65 Radar System

The AN/APG-65 is a pulse doppler, X-band, multi-mode radar used in F/A-18 and AV-8B aircraft. The AN/APG-65 Multi-Mode Radar is an all-weather sensor used for air-to-air and air-to-surface missions. During air-to-air operations, the APG-65 radar incorporates look-down/shoot-down capabilities. For air-to-surface operations, the radar features a sea surface search mode with clutter suppression.

The F/A-18 aircraft serves the Navy fleet in multiple missions, including escort, air superiority, and air defense in the fighter aircraft configuration and interdiction, close air support, defense suppression, and strike in the attack aircraft configuration. The F/A-18 Radar Upgrade (RUG) Program is being developed to replace the AN/APG-65 radar for the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partners. The new AN/APG-73 radar will provide improved radar sensitivity for target identification and improved resistance to radar jamming.

The F/A-18 Program Office manages the RUG acquisition for the Navy. In June 1989, the Navy Acquisition Executive decided to develop RUG prototypes and in June 1991 authorized the beginning of low-rate initial production (LRIP). In April 1990, McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (McDonnell Douglas) was awarded a fixed-price incentive fee contract, totaling $223 million, for development of RUG prototypes and LRIP quantities. McDonnell Douglas subcontracted the RUG development and production to Hughes Aircraft Company (Hughes) and is responsible for integrating the RUG into new F/A-18s during assembly. The Navy plans to retrofit the RUG to existing F/A-18s by purchasing directly from Hughes while McDonnell Douglas would purchase the radar RUG sets from Hughes for F/A-18s in production.

The two phases of the AN/APG-65 Radar Upgrade (RUG) continued in the F/A-18C/D/E/F aircraft. The RUG Phase I upgrade enhanced performance in a hostile electronic countermeasures environment, improve all-weather attack and increase growth potential of the radar. RUG Phase II will provide reconnaissance capability through the use of synthetic aperture radar technology and improved hardware and software. RUG Phase I completed procurement in Fiscal Year 2005 and installation in FY 2006. Total Phase I program procurement is 176 kits for the F/A-18C/D and 230 kits for the F/A-18E/F. RUG Phase II completed procurement in FY 2003 and installation in FY 2004. Total Phase II program procurement is 34 kits.

Introduced in 1993, the AV-8B aircraft with night attack and radar capabilities enhances pilots' abilities to locate and destroy targets under conditions of marginal weather, limited visibility (smoke, dust, or haze),and darkness. The two previously produced models had significant limitations. The day attack model, the first version of the aircraft procuredby the U.S. Marines in 1982, has limited capability during the hours of darkness because the pilots cannot refer to the terrain and horizon to assist in maneuver, navigation, and attack. The night attack version,introduced into the fleet in 1989, has increased capabilities over the day attack version but still has limitations.

Under the Marine Corps $2.2 billion AV-8B Harrier Remanufacture Program (REMAN)program, 72 of the older AV-8B aircraft with day attack capabilities were rebuilt so that they have the night attack and radarcapabilities that the most recently procured AV-8B radar attack aircraft have. The contractor integrated used components andassemblies, along with a new fuselage, a new engine, and an APG-65 radar system, to produce the final REMAN aircraft.

According to Navy officials, over $130 million will be saved by using excess APG-65 radar assets from the F-18 aircraft in the AV-8B aircraft. Ina March 11, 1994, Acquisition Decision Memorandum, the Principal DeputyUnder Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology concurredwith the Navy's approach to accelerate the F-18 radar upgrade from APG-65 to APG-73 radars in order to provide the resulting excess APG-65radar assets for the REMAN program. Three of the six basic componentsthat make up the APG-65 radar system are common to the F-18's APG-73radar and will remain in use in the F-18 aircraft. The remaining threecomponents (the radar receiver/exciter, target data processor, andcomputer power supply) will become excess assets available to the REMAN program.

According to program officials, the 150-series APG-65 radar is the versionrequired by the AV-8B aircraft.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:36:12 ZULU