WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) on Wednesday said it had been chosen by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) to upgrade the radar systems on F-16 fighter jets for the U.S. Air Force and Taiwan, a deal that could pave the way for more foreign orders in coming years.
Northrop beat out Raytheon Co (RTN.N) to win the contract, which will add active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars to the F-16 fighters, giving them new advanced capabilities and improving their reliability.
The company did not disclose the value of the contract, but hailed it as a major win. South Korea earlier this year chose Raytheon’s rival AESA radar for its own F-16 upgrades.
“This next generation radar will deliver unprecedented capabilities to the most widely used 4th generation fighter ever flown,” Roderick McLean, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s F-16/F-22 Integrated Fight Group.
Northrop said its newest airborne fire control radar, called the Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR), is designed for low risk retrofit in current F-16s but could be used in other aircraft as well.
“SABR’s affordability, proven performance, and low risk make it the natural choice as the baseline AESA radar for new F-16 production aircraft and upgrades worldwide,” said Joseph Ensor, vice president and general manager of Northrop’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance division.
Other AESA radars developed by Northrop are in use on newer F-16s, F-22 fighter jets, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Gary Hill, Bernard Orr