Raytheon Technologies announced on May 15 that it will outfit South Korea’s FA-50 Fighting Eagle light combat aircraft with its new PhantomStrike radar, after the US government gave its approval for the system to be exported as a Direct Commercial Sales product to the platform’s original equipment manufacturer, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).
Developed by Raytheon and described as a first-of-its-kind, fully air-cooled, compact active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire-control radar (FCR) that is lighter and requires less power, the PhantomStrike system is designed to “provide long-range threat detection, tracking and targeting” for a wide variety of platforms, including light attack aircraft, helicopters, ground-based radar towers and UAVs.
The firm confirmed that production of the PhantomStrike radars for KAI’s FA-50 Fighting Eagle will take place at its facilities in Forest, Mississippi; Tucson, Arizona; and Scotland – with support from Raytheon UK. Initial deliveries are expected to take place in 2025.
According to Raytheon, PhantomStrike combines two of the firm’s specialities: a gallium nitride-powered array with the compact high-reliability integrated receiver/exciter processor (CHIRP) to “match the capability of modern AESA radars.” These upgrades will also provide new capabilities for the FA-50, such as digital beam forming and steering; multi-mode functionality; and interleaved air and ground targeting.
At present, the FA-50 is in operational service with two air arms: the Republic of Korea Air Force and Philippine Air Force. KAI has also sold the platform to Poland and Malaysia, with initial deliveries to the former scheduled to begin later this year and the latter expected to receive their first aircraft in 2026.