AN/APG-81 AESA Radar

The Northrop Grumman-developed BAC1-11 test aircraft, configured with F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s (JSF) AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and the AN/AAQ-37 infrared distributed aperture system (DAS), is participating in the Bold Alligator 2012 exercise.

The sensor capabilities will operate with future software blocks and existing systems on the F-35 aircraft during the exercise conducted on the east coast of the US.

Northrop Grumman’s Combat Avionics Systems vice president Jeff Leavitt said: ‘With JSF being delivered to training commands in 2012, the Navy-Marine Corps team is poised to start using our radar and DAS in an operational context; much like US Pacific Command did during Northern Edge 2011.’

The multifunction aperture AN/APG-81 AESA radar supports full range of air-to-air and air-to-surface missions and provides electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

The high resolution AN/AAQ-37 DAS is an omni-directional infrared sensor system that provides advanced spherical situational awareness capability, including missile and aircraft detection, track and warning capabilities for the F-35 JSF.

The multinational Bold Alligator is the largest Atlantic Fleet naval exercise to be conducted in the past ten years and is aimed to revitalise Navy and Marine Corps’ full range of amphibious operations.

Bold Alligator 2012 will enhance the amphibious force readiness and proficiency for conducting maritime strategy core capabilities, including power projection, sea control, forward presence, deterrence, maritime security and humanitarian assistance/disaster response.

The exercise involves an aircraft carrier strike group, amphibious ready group, Nato alliance ships from eight partner nations, and Marine landing forces.

Conducted by US Fleet Forces and Marine Forces Command, the drill will run from 30 January 2012 and end on 12 February 2012 in Virginia, North Carolina and Florida, US.

Image: F-35’s AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar equipped on BAC1-11 test aircraft participates in the Bold Alligator 2012 exercise. Photo: Northrop Grumman.