US Air Force Activates First F-16 Squadron Equipped With AESA Radar
The US Air Force (USAF) has activated the 480th Fighter Squadron as the first USAF F-16CM squadron to be equipped with an active electronically scaned array (AESA) radar system.
USAF Chief of Staff General CQ Brown Jr. stated, the update of the F-16 with the addition of the AESZA radar, will make this aircraft more effective in combat operations. “I look forward to taking the F-16 further into the future of air superiority,” he said.
With the addition of the AESA radar, the F-16 becomes a fourth-generation multi-role fighter plus that can improve air defense and survivability against enemy forces.
The 480th Fighter Squadron reached the miles tone after the service declared full operational capability (FOC) readiness for the AN/APG-83 SABR radar of Air National Guard aircraft in October 2020. “This is an upgrade to modernize the F-16, especially with the sensors, starting with the radar,” said Lieutenant Colonel Shaun Loomis, Commander of the 480th Fighter Squadron.
Loomis added, F-16s with AESA radar will be used by his squadron for the next 20 years. Compared to its predecessor, the upgraded AESA system carries more transmitters, enabling more accurate, long-range, and less interference-resistant airspace scanning.
“The F-16 radar has been around since the late 1980s, and while this radar has received updates from time to time, there hasn’t been a dedicated hardware update in about 20 years,” explains Loomis.
Integrating the new radar on the old F-16 was a revolutionary move by the USAF. The old F-16 aircraft also underwent a modernization of the appearance in the cockpit.