US Supersonic B1-B bomber is getting a scalable beam radar upgrade

Northrop Grumman Corporation is introducing an improved radar for the U.S.Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber. The new radar is called Scalable Agile Beam Radar – Global Strike (SABR-GS).

As a derivative of the AN/APG-83 SABR, SABR-GS takes advantage of hardware, legacy modes and advanced operating modes proven on the F-35, F-22 and F-16 aircraft. Nearly three times the size of the F-16 SABR system, SABR-GS offers unprecedented target area detail and digital maps under all weather conditions.

The new radar provides large synthetic aperture radar maps, advanced image processing and sensor integration that provides a significant advantage in situational awareness for the crew, enabling the B-1 powerful new capabilities for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting.

The completion of this contract follows the successful Radar Modernization Improvement Program (RMIP), in which Northrop Grumman modernized the radar receivers and processors of the B-1. SABR-GS will replace the APQ-164 radar antenna currently deployed on all B-1 bombers.

The current upgrade implemented on the bomber is part of Sustainment Block 16 (SB-16) – the largest and most comprehensive in the Lancer’s life cycle so far. SB-16 includes upgraded navigation and radar systems, modernized cockpit that the replaced the two monochrome pilot and co-pilot displays with four color MFDs (Multi Function Display); a Fully Integrated Data Link and a Central Integrated Test System (used to detect and troubleshoot anomalies) in the aft station; introduction of modern moving map and user friendly symbology.

These modifications are part of the Integrated Battle Station (IBS) initiative, which will be fully implemented by 2019.

Built by Westinghouse (currently supported by Northrop Grumman), the APQ-164 radar employs passive electronically scanned array technology with electronic beam steering, enabling the fixed antenna to be pointed downward for reduced radar observability. Apart from terrain following, the radar also provided high resolution (10-foot to 160-foot resolutions) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mapping and ground moving target indication (GMTI) for navigation and targeting of nuclear and strategic weapons in all weather conditions.

SOURCE – Northrop Grumman Press release