USMC receives first APG-79(V)4 AESA radar prototype

Raytheon Intelligence & Space has delivered the first APG-79(V)4 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar prototype to the US Marine Corps (USMC) for testing on the Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet multi-role fighter.

The company announced the delivery of the first prototype radar to the service on April 29. While using the same parts and technology as the AN/APG-79 AESA radar – which is already operational with the US Navy’s Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fleet – the APG-79(V)4 has gallium nitride (GaN) transmit/receive modules in its array. The prototype allows for early flight testing and completion of weapon systems integration on the F/A-18C/D platform.

APG-79 AESA Radar [Raytheon Intelligence & Space]
Technicians work on an AN/APG-79 radar. Raytheon Intelligence & Space

The APG-79(V)4 is a scaled version of the APG-79 AESA radar, which helps pilots to detect and track enemy aircraft at longer distances, with more accuracy than the legacy APG-73 system. Raytheon states that the radar’s improved targeting capabilities provide an edge in crucial operations, including air-to-air, maritime strike and air-to-surface missions. Powered by GaN, the APG-79(V)4 is the first domestic implementation of a GaN-based fire control radar, with GaN transmit/receive modules embedded directly into the array.

Eric Ditmars, vice president of Secure Sensor Solutions for Raytheon Intelligence & Space, said: “The upgrade to [an] AESA radar offers increased reliability and sustainability for the customer, which equates to lower maintenance and repair costs, and increased aircraft availability.”

Deliveries of the first 25 production APG-79(V)4 AESA radars will begin this December, as part of the US$83.6m production contract, which was awarded to the firm in 2020.