Northrop Grumman is developing the next-generation F-35 Lightning II radar for the future Block 4, of which the radar will be a major component... While waiting for the turbojet engine with a higher thrust. The AN/APG-85 radar will replace the AN/APG-81 currently in service on the single-engine aircraft.
From the APG-81 to the APG-85 with enhanced capabilities and performance
Northrop Grumman Corporation is developing the AN/APG-85, an advanced electronically scanned active array radar (AESA) for the F-35 Lightning II. Northrop Grumman is manufacturing the AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire control radar, the cornerstone of the F-35 Lightning II sensor suite. The AN/APG-85 will be an advanced multi-function radar that will be compatible with all variants of the F-35 aircraft and will be capable of defeating current and projected adversary air and surface threats.
The development and integration of the APG-85 will incorporate some of the latest technologies available and will help ensure air superiority. This advanced radar will provide unparalleled battlespace situational awareness that will translate into platform lethality, effectiveness and survivability. In all likelihood, this radar is expected to use TRMs (transmit/receive modules) via materials using gallium nitride, which is the latest technology offering superior performance to radar using gallium arsenide, such as the AN/APG-81 currently employed on the F-35 and successor to the AN/APG-77 equipping the F-22 Raptor.
Lightning II Block 4
Surely this next-generation radar, with its intended capabilities and performance vastly superior to that of current equipment, will equip the F-35 Block 4... Which should also benefit from a new turbojet engine. In fact, the radar is one of the major improvements that should be included in the Block 4. Also included are improvements in electronic warfare capability, radar and electro-optical systems, carried weapons, navigation systems and the cockpit. The radar will not require a turbojet replacement, but eventually, with upgrades, the aircraft will need an engine that offers more thrust than the F135 it currently has.
Northrop Grumman on the F-35
Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernization, support and production of the F-35. In addition to producing the AN/APG-85 and AN/APG-81 radars, the company manufactures the aircraft's center fuselage and wing skins, produces and maintains several sensor systems, avionics, mission systems and mission planning software, pilot and maintainer training system courseware, electronic warfare simulation test capability and low observability technologies.
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