Northrop Grumman is developing AN/APG-85, the Next Generation Radar for the F-35 Lightning II

Northrop Grumman is developing AN/APG-85, the Next Generation Radar for the F-35 Lightning II

By Dario Leone
Jan 12 2023
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The AN/APG-85 is an advanced multifunction sensor that will be compatible with all variants of the F-35 aircraft and will be capable of defeating current and projected adversarial air and surface threats.

Northrop Grumman is developing AN/APG-85, an advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for the F-35 Lightning II. Northrop Grumman currently manufactures the AN/APG-81 AESA fire control radar, the cornerstone to the F-35 Lightning II’s sensor suite.

According to a Northrop Grumman news release, the AN/APG-85 is an advanced multifunction sensor that will be compatible with all variants of the F-35 aircraft and will be capable of defeating current and projected adversarial air and surface threats.

The development and integration of APG-85 will incorporate some of the latest technologies available and help ensure air superiority. This advanced sensor will provide unparalleled battlespace situational awareness that translates into platform lethality, effectiveness and survivability.

Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernization, sustainment and production of the F-35. In addition to producing the AN/APG-85 and AN/APG-81 radars, 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.

F-35C print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35C Lightning II VFA-125 Rough Raiders, NJ406, 169160 / 2018

Northrop Grumman is a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led industry team, which is developing producing and sustsaining three variants. The F-35A is the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B is the short takeoff-vertical landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C is the carrier variant (CV).

Besides radar, Northrop Grumman plays a critical role in the development, demonstration, production and sustainment of the F-35, including:

  • The production of the center fuselage, which forms a significant portion of the aircraft’s internal weapons bay and internal fuel capacity
  • The design and production of the AN/AAQ-37 Distributed Aperture System (DAS), which provides simultaneous modes of situational awareness, infrared search and track, missile warning and navigation not available on any other aircraft
  • The design and production of the AN/ASQ-242 Communications, Navigation and Identification (CNI) avionics suite, which can be dynamically programmed to arm the F-35 pilot with multiple-mission capabilities engineered for seamless transition from one mission phase to the next
  • The development of mission systems and mission-planning software
  • The development and delivery of pilot and maintenance training system courseware
  • The management of the team’s use, support and maintenance of low-observable technologies
  • The delivery of sustainment and modernization support to F-35 users, driving improvements to the enterprise-level sustainment solution through focused analysis, engagement, and innovation to reduce cost while increasing mission availability.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Lockheed F-35 Lightning II model
This model is available in multiple sizes from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

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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.

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