AN/APG-81 AESA Radar

APG-81 F-35 AESA Radar

The radar is designed to enable F-35 pilots to effectively engage air and ground targets at long range, while also providing outstanding situational awareness for enhanced survivability.

In addition to providing the radar, Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector is providing the AN/AAS-37 electro-optical Distributed Aperture System for the F-35. The system will provide F-35 pilots with a unique protective sphere around the aircraft for missile warning, navigation support and night operations.


AESA's solid-state technology and elimination of mechanical moving parts will enable the radar to far surpass current standards for systems reliability. The radar system also features a "replaceable assemblies" design for faster, easier repairs or upgrades to hardware and software modules. For these reasons, AESA life-cycle costs are expected to be significantly lower than those of MSAs. The active arrays on the F-35 should have almost twice the expected life of the airframe.

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