AN/APG-70 Radar System
For low-altitude, high-speed penetration and precision attack on tactical targets at night or in adverse weather, the F-15E carries a high-resolution APG-70 radar and low-altitude navigation and targeting infrared for night pods. The AN/APG-70 is a highly reliable radar with improved maintenance features. The APG-70 is a multimode radar with air-to-air and air-to-surface capabilities. As an upgrade of the APG-63, the APG-70 was designed for greater reliability and easier maintenance. Gate array technology enables the APG-70 to incorporate modes not available in earlier radars while providing greatly enhanced operational capabilities in other modes. The APG-70 is employed on late model F-15C, D, and E aircraft and on the F-15I and the F-15S.
The APG-70 radar system allows aircrews to detect ground targets from long ranges. One feature of this system is that after a sweep of a target area, the crew freezes the air-to-ground map then goes back into air-to-air mode to clear for air threats. During the air-to-surface weapon delivery, the pilot is capable of detecting, targeting and engaging air-to-air targets while the WSO designates the ground target.
Technologies that proved both successful and crucial during Operation Desert Storm included the Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared System for Night (LANTIRN), the APG-68 and APG-70 attack radar with advanced cockpit displays. Pilots claimed the APG-70 attack radar in the F-15E and the APG-68 in the F-16 offered "phenomenal" range and resolution. In interviews, they proclaimed "if it had metal in it, we could find it," and "with the APG-70, you could tell from 30 miles away whether a MiG-sized target had weapons or fuel tanks on it." These radar systems were an outgrowth of the Forward Looking Advanced Multi-mode Radar program conducted by the Wright Laboratory's Avionics Directorate in the 1970s.
The APG-70 Radar in the F-15 Eagle and the APQ-180 Radar in the AC-130U Gunship have a high degree of LRU commonality despite the different missions of their respective weapons systems. The Dual-radar Software Development Facility Project is an example of the collaborativeefforts required between an Air Force System Program Office, a Air Force Logistics Center, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Air Force Special Operations Command, The Contractor Raytheon, and the Contractor Boeing to provide a common (inter-operable) embedded information support environment for multiple weapon systems. The Dual-radar Software Development Facility supports the radar software for both F-15APG-70 and AC-130U Gunship APQ-180 Radars. The provision of a common supportenvironment was proven feasible because the APQ-180 radar is a derivative radar of theAPG-70, with several common components.
The F-15 AN/APG-70 Radar System design was driven by performance requirements whichevolved from test loops in which assemblies pass their functional test requirements and then fail at higher levels of assembly and test. The problem is best exemplified by the case of an analog module which passes all module tests and then either fails a higher level (unit or system) test or fails in the field, but still passes all module acceptance tests. The existence of these test loops greatly impacts manufacturing cost, schedule, and reliability and, in the field, have created supportability and maintainability problems. One project sought to develop and document a generic process which will facilitate the specification of cones of tolerance from the system level to the hybrid circuit level. Key product features and performance parameters for the hybrid circuit level and studies to determine key control and process characteristics were to be identified.
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