Northrop Grumman offers SABR for B-52 radar mod program

By Jason Sherman / February 26, 2019 at 3:13 PM

Northrop Grumman has submitted a proposal for the Air Force's B-52 Radar Modernization Program, proffering its AN/APG-83 SABR system for a project that aims to refresh technology to outfit Global Strike Command with modern capabilities to fully utilize the capabilities and payload of the legacy bomber fleet.

On Feb. 25, Northrop Grumman announced it has submitted a bid that leverages its Active Electronically Scanned Array radar product line to Boeing -- which was tapped by the Air Force in 2017 to be the source-selection authority for the new B-52 radar.

"The SABR and SABR-Global Strike family of radars provides differentiating capability for air dominance and strike missions," said Tom Jones, vice president and general manager for Northrop Grumman's airborne C4ISR systems, in a statement. "Our hot production and sustainment lines are already in place to support our current and future customers' needs to support our current and future customers' needs for decades to come."

The B-52 radar upgrade effort aims to support both nuclear and conventional operations by upgrading or replacing -- in whole or in part -- the current APQ-166 radar Line Replaceable Units on the B-52H aircraft.

The Air Force has stated a desire for a new radar that could support existing missions and also incorporate new capabilities such as ground moving target indicator/moving target track, surface target search/surface target track and electronic protection. The service also desires a system that provides a growth path for new and enhanced capabilities.

Northrop Grumman is looking to expand sales of its SABR radar beyond the current F-16 upgrade programs -- both to the Air Force and international customers -- by locking in sales to the bomber fleet.

Along with proposing a SABR variant for the B-52H, Northrop has also developed a version of the radar for the B-1B bomber, according to the statement.

In addition, Northrop Grumman is vying against Raytheon for a chance to replace the Marine Corps' venerable AN/APG-73 radar in nearly 100 older-model F/A-18 Hornets. Northrop is offering a SABR variant and Raytheon is offering its APG-79 radar.