Defense

July 18, 2014

F-15E takes first flight with new radar system

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Trace Giles
Mountain Home AFB, Idaho

The first 389th Fighter Squadron F-15E Strike Eagle received a Radar Modernization Program upgrade at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho in June. The new radar system is designed to retain functionality of the old legacy radar system while providing expanded mission employment capabilities.

The first 389th Fighter Squadron F-15E Strike Eagle received a Radar Modernization Program, or RMP, upgrade at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, in June.

The inaugural flight with the new radar system was flown by Capt. Matthew Riley, a 389th Fighter Squadron pilot, and Maj. Jacob Lindaman, a 389th FS weapon systems officer.

“The new radar system does everything faster, is extremely precise and requires less maintenance,” Riley said. “It can designate air-to-air and air-to-ground simultaneously, allowing us to track enemy aircraft and identify ground targets at the same time.”

According to the Air Force’s first RMP report, the new radar system is designed to retain functionality of the old legacy radar system while providing expanded mission employment capabilities to include:

  • Near simultaneous interleaving of selected air-to-air and air-to-ground functions
  • Enhanced air-to-air and air-to-ground classified combat identification capabilities
  • Longer range air-to-air target detection and enhanced track capabilities
  • Longer range and higher resolution air-to-ground radar mapping
  • Improved ground moving target track capability

“In order to maintain our combat edge in today’s challenging environment, Air Combat Command must balance resources between refurbishing our existing fleet and investing in future weapon systems,” said Gen. Mike Hostage, the commander of ACC.

The RMP replaces the F-15E’s more than 20-year-old legacy APG-70 mechanically scanned radar with an active electronically-scanned array, or AESA, system designated as the APG-82(V)1.
“The old radar system is hydraulic, has moving parts and requires three maintainers to perform repairs after every 30 flight hours,” said Master Sgt. Jennifer Schildgen, a 366th Fighter Wing avionics manager. “The new radar system is a beam scan, doesn’t have any moving parts and is projected to only require one maintainer to perform repairs after more than 2,000 flight hours.”

The modification process is managed by Boeing representatives and takes two to three months to complete for each aircraft. The tentative plan is to complete RMP for 47 aircraft from the 389th FS and 391st Fighter Squadron by 2017.

So far, the F-15E fighter aircraft has flown more than 11 hours with the new radar.

“This radar was made exclusively for the strike eagle and should outlast the jets,” Riley said.




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