Marines' F/A-18C/D Hornets to be upgraded with AESA radar

Marines’ F/A-18C/D Hornets to be upgraded with AESA radar

By Dario Leone
Mar 23 2018
Share this article

A total of 98 AESA radars are to be procured to cover seven fleet squadrons of 12 F/A-18C/D aircraft each plus 14 spare systems

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has issued a request for information (RFI) on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), seeking for a new  Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for the latter’s F/A-18C/D fleet.

The service is shopping for 98 sets of radars and the winner will be picked on Oct. 1. Work will start in 2020 and finish by 2022.

“The AN/APG-73 has been subject to ongoing maintainability, supportability, and readiness issues,” the RFI noted, adding, “AESA solutions are required due to the increased reliability and sustainability requirements, as well as the associated capability improvements.”

NAVAIR says that a total of 98 AESAs are to be procured to cover seven fleet squadrons of 12 aircraft each plus 14 spare systems. In its list of requirements, NAVAIR states that the new AESA should require no changes to the current radar-aircraft interfaces.

According Jane’s, as the incumbent radar provider, Raytheon is likely to pitch its Raytheon Advanced Capability Radar (RACR) that has been adapted from the AN/APG-79 as fitted to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, and is scaled to be compatible with the legacy Hornet and the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon.

As the other prime radar provider to the US military, Northrop Grumman is expected to compete with its Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) that is also compatible with the legacy Hornet and F-16.

Interested parties have until 1500 h Eastern Standard Time on Apr. 6 to respond to the RFI.

AESA radars provide advanced capabilities such as cruise missile defense, an enhanced SAR-mapping capability, extended air-to-air range, and an interleaved mode capability that allows air-to-air and air-to-ground modes to be used simultaneously, a particularly useful mode in two-seat aircraft.

VMFAT-101 F/A-18B print
This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.  F/A-18B Hornet VMFAT-101 Sharpshooters, SH215 / 163115 – Medal of Honor. MAG-11, MAW-3, MCAS Miramar, CA – 2014

Photo credit: Sgt. Marcy Sanchez / U.S. Marine Corps

Artwork courtesy of

Share this article

Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.
Share this article

Share this article
Back to top