General Dynamics Mission Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, has announced their selection by Northrop Grumman to complete qualification testing on previously designed wideband radomes, and provide additional wideband radomes for test and evaluation in support of the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar upgrades for the U.S. Air Force’s F-16 aircraft. The contract has an estimated completion date of June, 2021.
The qualification testing and radome manufacturing will be performed at a General Dynamics facility in Marion, VA.
“For over seven decades we have a successful legacy of designing, producing and testing over 65,000 radomes to meet the needs of more than 45 different types of aircraft,” said Jared Strait, director of Composite Solutions at General Dynamics Mission Systems. “As antennas and radar systems evolve to become more powerful and operate over wider frequencies, our goal is to make wideband radomes that protect them and support the increased functionality with as little interference as possible.”
General Dynamics has built every nose radome for the more than 4,600 F-16 aircraft produced and has designed and built over 1,500 wideband nose radomes to support AESA radars on aircraft for the US military including the F-15, F/A-18 and F-35.
Radomes are designed to protect radars from physical damage while minimizing the impact to the RF performance (i.e. blockage or interference). The wideband radome provides superior performance over the existing radome by minimizing this impact over the much broader AESA frequency bands. This significant improvement delivers greater operating frequency space, provides maximum performance in target detection and mapping and enables the USAF to fully leverage their investment in the AESA radar systems.