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Northern Edge 09
090618-F-2034C-181 Crew chiefs prepare to launch their BAC 1-11 aircraft for a mission June 18, 2009 during Exercise Northern Edge 09 held at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. The BAC 1-11 is flying missions during Northern Edge to test the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter?s APG-81 radar. Northern Edge is the largest most complex airborne electronic warfare environment and is Alaska?s largest military training exercise that prepares joint forces to respond to crises throughout the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo/ MSgt Shane A. Cuomo) RELEASED
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Northern Edge fields new radar system

Posted 6/25/2009   Updated 6/25/2009 Email story   Print story


by Army Sgt. Ricardo Branch
Northern Edge Joint Information Bureau

6/25/2009 - ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska  -- The next generation aircraft, the F-35 Lightning II, is undergoing field tests. Throughout the military, numerous exercises and units are participating to help perfect the many parts from radar to maneuverability of the next generation aircraft. 

The Joint Strike Fighter Program, which is heading the development of the F-35, conducted field testing for the aircraft's APG-81 radar system during the Northern Edge 2009 exercise in Alaska. 

The exercise, which was the United States' largest and most complex airborne electronic warfare environment to date, presented real-world scenarios to test the fighter jets of today's military, as well as future aircraft like the F-35. 

"Exercise Northern Edge presented a rare and valuable opportunity to observe the performance of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's APG-81 radar in an operational environment," said Michael Solomon, a representative from resources and experimentation, U.S. Pacific Command. 

The F-35s APG-81 active electronically scanned array radar was integrated in the exercise when it was mounted on the front of a BAC 1-11, a Northrop Grumman test aircraft. The APG-81 test event represents a major milestone in protection testing in an operationally representative environment, accomplished years ahead of normal developmental timelines. 

The airborne tests of Northrop Grumman's APG-81 radar validates years of laboratory testing versus a wide array of threat systems, showcasing the extremely robust electronic warfare capabilities of the world's most advanced fighter fire control radar. 

The APG-81 AESA radar is designed and produced by Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems based in Baltimore. It is currently undergoing integrated avionics flight test in the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Cooperative Avionics Test Bed aircraft and is being installed in production F-35s on the LM Aero assembly line in Fort Worth, Texas. 

The F-35's many parts will continue undergoing field tests, much like the radar system during Northern Edge, until the aircraft is mission capable and distributed to select flying units in the U.S. military. Approximately 2,800 aircraft have been requested by the Navy, Air Force and Marines to be delivered within the near future.

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