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F-16 Flies With F-15E Strike Eagle Dragon’s Eye Radar Pod for the First Time

Keeping military aircraft up and running requires a lot of work being performed routinely, and upgrades being made constantly to enhance their capabilities. That’s even more so when we’re talking about a plane that has spent more than four decades in service already, like is the case with the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
F-16 Fighting Falcon with Dragon’s Eye radar pod 17 photos
F-16 Fighting FalconF-16C Fighting Falcon taking off from New JerseyAggressor Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon taking offRoyal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16F-16 Fighting Falcon in Operation Inherent ResolveF-16 Fighting Falcons over Niceville, Florida
This particular type of bird is the world’s favorite, with more than 4,600 of them sharing the sky of our world, conducting missions on behalf of over 25 nations. Not all of them are created equal, of course, as each is made to suit the specific requirements of the country that fields it.

The U.S., as the one making and spreading the F-16 joy around, has the most advanced planes of the bunch of course, and it is continuously working on making them better. The latest development: the addition of the Dragon’s Eye Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar pod.

Made by Northrop Grumman, the radar pod has just been flown for the first time on an F-16 belonging to the Air National Guard. Featuring “advanced radar modes that can be shared across our fifth-generation radar portfolio,” the technology should allow pilots to “detect, track, identify and target faster in theater,” according to Susan Bruce, vice president of advanced mission capabilities at Northrop Grumman.

The hardware is the same one already deployed on the F-15E Strike Eagle, and the same that saw action on an AC-130 gunship and a B-52 bomber – in these two instances, we are talking only about proof of concept demonstrations.

Dragon’s Eye is planned as the next major addition to the fleet of F-16 fielded by the U.S. Air Force. At the time of writing, there is no timeframe on when the fleets operated by the Guard and Reserve forces will be getting it.

Editor's note: Gallery shows other F-16s.

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