U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman announced on Thursday the delivery of its 500th AN/APG-81 fire control radar for the F-35 Lightning II.
The Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array is the cornerstone of the F-35’s advanced sensor suite, providing unparalleled battlespace situational awareness that translates into platform lethality, effectiveness and survivability.
“As a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 industry team, our continued investment in facilities and equipment, production enhancements in process and design, and expanded supply chain capability through second sourcing helped reach this milestone,” said Chris Fitzpatrick, director, F-35 programs, Northrop Grumman. “The 500th delivery of this top-of-the-line fighter radar was made possible by our continuous focus on quality and excellence across our company.”
The AN/APG-81 radar has long-range active and passive air-to-air and air-to-ground modes that support a wide range of demanding missions. These modes are complemented by an array of stealth features as well as electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance functions.
Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernization, sustainment and production of the F-35. In addition to producing the AN/APG-81 radar, the company manufactures the center fuselage and wing skins for the aircraft, produces and maintains several sensor systems, avionics, mission systems and mission-planning software, pilot and maintainer training systems courseware, electronic warfare simulation test capability, and low-observable technologies.
The F-35 strengthens national security, enhances global partnerships and powers economic growth. As the most lethal, survivable and connected fighter jet in the world, the F-35 gives pilots the critical advantage against any adversary, enabling them to execute their mission and come home safe.
The F-35 family includes three variants — all single-seat jets. The F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant, the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variant, and the F-35C carrier variant.
All three variants have similar performance characteristics and the exact same advanced avionics. The variation between models allows military forces to achieve service-specific mission capability, while still taking advantage of the economies of scale that result from the parts and processes that are common to all three variants.