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.