The United States Air Force recently flew the Northrop Grumman AN/ASQ-236 Dragon’s Eye Active Electronically Scanned Array radar pod on an operational F-16 Viper for the first time.
The Viper is the latest variant of the Lockheed Martin F-16 fourth-generation Fighting Falcon aircraft. The Viper was unveiled in 2012 and took its first flight three years later.
The air force has been upgrading its mechanically scanned AN/APG-68 Viper radar with Northrop’s AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar. According to WarZone, the Dragon’s Eye will be installed on those aircraft that do not receive the AN/APG-83 upgrade.
To Be Deployed on Air Guard, Reserve F-16s
The air force intends to deploy the Dragon’s Eye pod on over 200 Air Guard and Reserve F-16 Vipers. The Dragon’s Eye is already operational on the US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle.
According to the manufacturer, the Dragon’s Eye can be deployed on a range of aircraft. During a proof of concept demonstration, Northrop outfitted the pod on an Air Force Special Operations Command AC-130 gunship and Air Force Global Strike Command B-52 bomber.
The Ku band radar pod provides aircrew with all-weather detection, track, and engagement against fixed, moving, and maritime targets. It also includes bomb impact assessment analysis.
“The addition of the Dragon’s Eye to the F-16 Viper is a force multiplier, enabling warfighters to detect, track, identify and target faster in theater,” Northrop Grumman vice president of advanced mission capabilities Susan Bruce stated.
“This pod is rapidly adaptable to new platforms and it features advanced radar modes that can be shared across our fifth-generation radar portfolio.”