New Radars For Hornets

Kuwait AF F/A-18C Hornet. USAF

SHAH ALAM: New Radars for Hornets. As you are aware the US Marine Corps is looking to replace the radar of its F/A-18 Hornets with a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) system. The program is needed as the service intends to fly its Hornets – similar to the ones flown by the 18th Squadron – well beyond 2020.

The Marine Corps wants to buy 98 radar sets together with 14 spare sets. Work to replace the current radar – the Raytheon AN/APG-73 radar – is expected to start in late 2020 and ends by 2022. Two candidates are believed to be competing for the program – the Raytheon Advanced Capability Radar (RACR) and the Northrop Grumman Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR).

At the request of the Marine Corps, Northrop Grumman successfully performed a fit check of a production APG-83 SABR on a F/A-18C Hornet at MCAS Miramar in California. NG

Northrop Grumman recently performed a test fit of the SABR on a Marine Corps F/A-18C recently.

The fit check, performed August 2 at the request of the Marine Corps, demonstrated SABR is a low-risk option for installation on F/A-18C/D Hornets and that the radar can be integrated with the aircraft’s power, cooling and avionics systems.

“The Marine Corps asked for an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) solution due to the radar’s increase in reliability and sustainability with no decrease in operational performance,” said Greg Simer, vice president, integrated avionics systems, Northrop Grumman. “The Marine Corps’ stated objective is to modify an in-production, fielded AESA while meeting the current size, weight, power and cooling requirements of the F/A-18 C/D. We have proven our production APG-83 SABR radar fits into the F/A-18 C/D, achieving the objectives and bringing the technical maturity needed to attain the Marine Corps fleet insertion timelines.”

The APG-83 is a multifunction AESA fire control radar that delivers fifth-generation fighter capabilities to counter and defeat increasingly sophisticated threats.

Northrop Grumman is competing to replace the mechanically-scanned radar on F/A-18C/Ds with an AESA radar. The Marine Corps plans to upgrade the radar on approximately 100 F/A-18C/Ds. The APG-83 will address survivability, reliability and maintainability concerns for the U.S. Marine Corps.

AESA radar successfully tested on a legacy Hornet.

With RMAF Hornets expected to fly well at least until 2030 perhaps in the near future it should also opt for the same upgrades for the eight aircraft in service and also the Kuwaiti Hornets thats been it is seeking to acquire.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2200 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Beside radar, what else can be consider for future upgrade?
    IRST, cockpit display, ESM/ECM, Engine (same with Gripen-E).
    For radar, is it possible to upgrade to european makes, like Raven?
    Can we upgrade few airframes to have close capacility as Growler?

    We can do whatever ever upgrade we want but it will be more expensive as we will be the only user much like the MKM.

  2. “and also the Kuwaiti Hornets thats been it is seeking to acquire. ”

    To your knowledge, has Malaysia submitted a request to Kuwait?

  3. @ pok ya

    Any upgrades need to consider that it is to be used only up till 2030 (12 more years to go).

    – AESA radar
    – SATCOM
    – new internal jammers, ALQ-214(V)4/5 Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM)
    – SAAB BOL chaff/flare dispensers (canibalize from raaf hornets)
    – towed decoys (ALE-50, as per kuwaiti legacy hornets upgrade)
    – new standoff missile KEPD Taurus (as per spain hornets)

    – engine. No. Too much changes to be made
    – growler. No. Easier to buy Knirti SAP-14 pods for MKM instead. Or get a version of the ASELSAN HAVASOJ dedicated stand off jammer aircraft (this could use the same platform as our future AWACS)

  4. If we can’t even properly finance a SLEP for the MKMs (that without replacing engines, FCS, or radar), how do you suppose we can finance this radar replacement?

    AFAIK, AESA radar don’t come cheap even if piggyback on large order. Furthermore are we going to get the same spec as USMC or a crippled one as usual?

    Right now we lack critically in quantity more than quality. I prefer they use whatever money available to get the Kuwaiti Hornets. The radar replacements can wait.

  5. having an improve radar on f18 would sure give us advantage only if we get additional plane from kuwait. if not,do it sufficient and economic wise for it???

    off topic-
    read this in janes “Malaysia considers mix of manned, unmanned aircraft for maritime surveillance requirements”
    does anybody know if this unmanned aircraft is MALE or just simple ScanEagle or its class?i mean does it cost effective to have MALE UAV plus MPA operates maritime surveillance. really hope to see the plan blueprint before any purchase.

  6. I was Thinking that, Should RMAF Planned to Replace PESA into AESA For 18 MKMs ?.

    BTW, Im waiting for Kuwait Hornets come to malaysia.

  7. @ joe

    Yes the first priority should be to get those kuwaiti hornets.

    Then would be upgrades. For just the AESA, for big volumes (100+ aircraft) it is around usd2 million per aircraft (as per taiwan contract), so i dont expect the AESA upgrades for those hornets to cost more than usd5 milion per aircraft.

    @ safran

    MKM AESA upgrade could be much later (probably post 2030), as the Bars radar still have a good performance and can be further upgraded. Even the irbis-e in the su-35 is a modified PESA Bars radar incorperating many similar hardwares.

  8. joe “Furthermore are we going to get the same spec as USMC or a crippled one as usual?”

    Gulf states fly more advanced models of 4th generation aircraft than the US does, for us to upgrade would take us nowhere near those specs and would not be a problem. In any case, no country exports their best.

  9. The MPA programme would not be approved. It would be cinsideted only in next plan

  10. @AM
    Gulf states are certainly on more friendlier terms with USA than us (oh wait, that’s before Malaysia changed governments). Furthermore, they have symbiotic relationship and it serves US purpose to prop them up, they don’t want to repeat the same mistakes they did with Iran by arming them and leaving them alone.

    Furthermore I believe US will have a remote kill switch for all those higher tech stuff that may endanger US forces.

    Despite that, in view of Malaysia’s new government’s “excellent” relationship with US administration (bar Trump), I am hoping the US might just donate Malaysia a dozen or so Super Hornets.

  11. Since most of ppl dun like MKM and it look like high maintenance. let sell it and get 2 sq of LCA…

  12. talk talk talk…so many.. is still dun have budget for MPA

    KUALA LUMPUR : The Defence Ministry said it has scrapped the Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) project, in line with the Malaysian government’s decision to re-evaluate the implementation of the mega project.

    “However, the project can be considered in the next rolling plan, if it is still in the priority of the ministry,” the ministry said today in Parliament via a written reply dated Aug 7, 2018 to Mersing MP Datuk Dr Abd Latiff Ahmad.

    Abd Latiff had earlier asked the ministry on whether the government will proceed with the procurement of large defence assets such as the MPA, Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) and Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

    The ministry, however, said there is a need to continue the procurement of the LMS and LCS, in line with national defence operational needs.

    The procured LMS and LCS are under construction as scheduled, the ministry said.

  13. Seems everyone here is hoping our Cabinet will decide in favour of getting those Kuwaiti Hornets. I pray, DOA so too. And to make it sweeter, please don’t botch up the deal, just get ALL the available planes! Please avoid using middlemen that aligned to this or that PH Minister like the previous govt. Simple. YB Mat Sabu, are You getting this?

  14. Why the heck does that guy say that the MPA will be considerd in the next RMK IF i repeat IF it is still a priority?!?!

    Airborne maritime surveillance will ALWAYS be a priority for a maritime nation like us!

  15. Why the heck does that guy say that the MPA will be considerd in the next RMK IF i repeat IF it is still a priority?!?!

    Airborne maritime surveillance will ALWAYS be a priority for a maritime nation like us!

  16. We should go for low cost solution such as fitting SABIR on our C130 just like the pinoy is doing

  17. menhan please…after all those said and big word at parliament about how we need all those asset and suddenly MPA next RMK. is this mean if it was next RM we can expect a big bump in procurement budget or just normal.

    “The ministry, however, said there is a need to continue the procurement of the LMS and LCS”

    again…this setences please be a wrong interpretation or just mistake please…why no continue?no continue in this RMK only?

    all seem grim now.after all that being said by menhan,all is lost.

  18. 3rd national car project is more important and higher priority compared to securing maritime borders. This is what Malaysians have voted for. Real hopeless.

  19. A real tragedy that the MPA project is axed or at least postponed indefinitely. Always felt that the MPA and maybe EWACS should be of higher priority than MRCA given that they are more befitting Malaysia’s passive stance of not-firing (or daring to fire) the 1st shot, while still allowing adequate awareness for appropriate diplomatic responses for potential border violations.

    Btw, I don’t think the deal for the sand monkey’s hornets are going to come anytime soon as the new government just shuttered the so called center for peace and essentially slapped the mafia boss of sand monkey cartel in the face. I think instead of pinning for those mirages in the desert, the priority now is to the get some funding to complete the MKM overhaul.

  20. The situation is NOT HOPELESS. Mindefs pririty dhifts sll the time. No one can predict ehat will hsppen in the next few years n priority changes. Look at our financial situation. Since the LMS n LCS have been contracted n now u der construction, its only natural that all available money go to complete the projects. It only make sense

  21. kerberos, that sand monkey is the Saudi King. I believe shutting down the peace center is not a big deal. It’s just another center for Islamic researchers to gather in and have their ngopi/ngeteh sessions! I always have a low opinion of these talk-only Islamic researchers who cannot even hold the attention of the pakcik-makcik in kuliah/ ceramah suraus! So it’s now more of a direct negotiations tack with the Kuwaitis for the F18s. Get the best team out there and get them planes.
    # And yes, always suspected our MinDef don’t have a clue about what to do with MPAs and surveillance aircrafts. Or are they instead asking the RMAF or RMN or MMEA to shoulder the surveillance tasks? Or just in jest, getting the Sarawak Forestry Dept to do the MPA work in their new Diamond aircraft? 🙂 interesting times that we live in…

  22. @Taib
    They probably thought the MPA was just an overpriced VIP hauler, hence unnecessary. After all, it does look like one of them Malindo Airlines or MASWings plane, no?

  23. Let the Kuwaitis upgrade all of their hornets with AESA radar and if possible CFT, then ask for a hibah or buyout for all of them….

  24. @Garga
    If they already planned to replace them, I don’t think the Kuwaitis will further upgrade their legacy Hornets. But I stand corrected, after all, the British Royal Navy did do an expensive refurb on HMS Ocean and used it for barely a year before selling it to Brazil…

  25. @ garga

    The last upgrade for the legacy Hornets by Kuwait would be the towed ALE-50 decoys along with its Integrated Multi-Platform Launch Controller (IMPLC) launchers. But these items are mounted on pylons and can be transferred to their new Super Hornets if they wish.

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