Raytheon Systems on the Super Hornet
AIM-7 Sparrow Missile
Providing the Technology behind the Hornet’s Air Dominance
With more than 50 years experience equipping military forces, Raytheon's technology experts know that today's multi-role aircraft require multi-role technology to maintain combat superiority. From radars and electronic warfare to targeting pods and missiles, today's Super Hornet derives most of its capability and adaptability from a panoply of revolutionary Raytheon technology.
Raytheon technology is designed to operate in and adapt between air-to-air and air-to-ground missions during the same sortie by using the world's most advanced Airborne Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. Self-protection is provided by today's state-of-the-art digital radar warning receiver—the ALR-67(V)3—and the combat-proven ALE-50 towed decoy. For targeting and strike capabilities, Raytheon's Advanced Targeting Forward-looking Infrared (ATFLIR) pod, and series of munitions provide a full complement of mission solutions.
By equipping the Super Hornet with Raytheon's impressive array of technological capabilities, this aircraft employs JSF-generation capabilities—today. And the predecessor to the Super Hornet, the F/A-18A/B/C/D—also equipped with Raytheon systems—currently serves the armed forces of eight nations for fighter escort, suppression of enemy air defenses, reconnaissance, forward air control, close-air support, and day and night strike missions.
U.S. Navy's First AESA Squadron is now Operational
After successfully completing operational evaluation and initial operational capability in 2006, Raytheon’s AN/APG-79 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar is now operational with an active duty U.S. Navy squadron. With a significant increase in search volume, superior detection, and target track ranges, the APG-79 and the Super Hornet leaped into the next generation.
With its active electronic beam scanning the APG-79 optimizes situational awareness and provides superior air-to-air and air-to-ground capability with its ability to steer the radar at nearly the speed of light. The agile beam enables the radar’s air-to-air and air-to-ground modes to interweave simultaneously, so the air crew can use both modes at the same time. This technology alone is an unprecedented technological leap in radar history.
According to the U.S. Navy, “This "force multiplier" capability gives the operational commander more flexibility in employing tactical aircraft in a rapidly changing battle scenario. The fighter missions are primarily fighter escort and fleet air defense; while the attack missions are force projection, interdiction, and close and deep air support.”
Hornets have Super Sensing Systems
Some F/A-18 are currently equipped with Raytheon’s AN/APG-73 Mechanically Scanned Array (MSA) radar. With more than 750 systems delivered, the APG-73 is an all-weather, coherent, multimode, multi-waveform search-and-track sensor that uses programmable digital processors to provide the features and flexibility needed for both air-to-air and air-to-surface missions.
Additionally, Raytheon’s AN/ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward-looking Infrared (ATFLIR) pod is the only targeting pod fully integrated and certified for aircraft carrier operations and has been supporting fleet deployments since 2002.
The AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR features state-of-the-art mid-wave infrared targeting and navigation FLIRs, an electro-optical sensor, a laser rangefinder and target designator and a laser spot tracker. Until now, laser tracking and infrared targeting and navigation functions on F/A-18 aircraft involved three pods. The streamlined ATFLIR integrates the three capabilities into a single compact pod, freeing an air-to-air weapon station for other mission requirements.
Raytheon’s AN/ALR-67(V)3 Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), a sophisticated countermeasures receiving set, provides superior situational awareness during long-range detection. With the changes in today’s battlespace and the increasing sophistication of electronic warfare systems has produced task-saturated legacy RWR systems. The AN/ALR-67(V)3 operates successfully in high density electromagnetic environments because the channelized receiver architecture allows successful detection of emitters in high pulse density, as well as interception of faint distant signals despite interference.
The company’s combat-proven AN/ALE-50 Towed Decoy System provides protection from surface-to-air and air-to-air missile attacks. Designed for use on multiple U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps aircraft, the ALE-50 is recognized for its unparalleled protection. The level of security this system provides makes the ALE-50 one of the most important end-game electronic countermeasures available today. More than 20,000 decoys have been delivered around the world.
The Super Hornet also carries Raytheon’s Miniature Airborne Global Positioning System Receiver (MAGR-2000). Using an open systems architecture, the receiver provides improved position, velocity and time performance reporting, resulting in a more accurate weapon delivery.
Raytheon is now delivering the SHAred Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) for the F/A-18. SHARP features a medium-altitude electro-optic and infrared sensor with manual or automatic modes of operation, with a spiral insertion of high-altitude EO/IR performance planned.
Hornets use Raytheon Weapons for Super Strike Capability
With eight Raytheon weapon systems supporting the Hornet, the aircraft has evolved into one of the most lethal and effective platforms across the full mission spectrum: air superiority, fighter escort, reconnaissance, close air support, air defense suppression and day/night precision strike.
Raytheon weapon systems include the AMRAAM, HARM, AGM-65 Maverick, AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-9M Sidewinder and AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles; the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW); and the Paveway™ family of laser-guided bombs. When used together, these combat-proven air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons equip the Super Hornet with tremendous firepower and extremely reliable precision strike capability.
The AGM-65 Maverick missile is effective against moving and armored targets. Providing precision strike capability with minimum collateral damage, the AGM-65 has achieved a 90 percent hit rate in combat operations.
The AIM-7 Sparrow Missile missile is a medium-range, all-weather, all-aspect, semi-active guided missile used in multiple roles by multiple services. Performance improvements in this combat-proven system include look-down, shoot-down in heavy clutter environments and much lower altitude engagement. Additionally, it is more time immune to the ever challenging countermeasures threat.
The AIM-9M Sidewinder missile is a cost-effective, infrared-tracking, short-range, air-to-air missile adaptable to multiple applications. The AIM-9M Sidewinder delivers efficient identification of targets against ground clutter; successful tracking against low-signal level targets; and has a reduced-smoke rocket motor.
The AIM-9X Sidewinder missile has exceptional target acquisition in all forms of background clutter with improved maximum and minimum range. AIM-9X is a launch and leave, air combat missile that uses passive infrared (IR) energy for acquisition and tracking, which can be employed in near beyond visual range (NBVR) and within visual range (WVR) arenas.
The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) offers true multi-shot, beyond visual range “launch and leave” capability, which enhances survivability. AMRAAM packs unprecedented performance into a lightweight, cost-effective package. Its operational reliability is measured in thousands of hours – an order of magnitude improvement against which other systems can't compare.
The High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) provides air-to-surface suppression and destruction of air-to-air missile radars, early warning radars, and radar-directed air defense artillery systems from long standoff ranges. Its multiple operational modes provides maximum flexibility in suppressing and destroying enemy air defense systems.
Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) is a family of affordable, highly lethal weapons revolutionizing strike warfare. This new generation glide weapon ensures warfighter survivability by enabling precision air strike launches from well beyond the range of most enemy air defenses. JSOW variants can engage and destroy virtually the entire target set for our forces today over a range of threat environments.
Paveway™ Laser Guided Bomb engages targets with precision accuracy and minimal collateral damage. The Paveway™ series of laser guided bombs (LGB) has truly revolutionized tactical air-to-ground warfare. These semi-active laser-guided munitions, which home on reflected laser energy directed on the target, not only drastically reduce the number of munitions required to destroy a target, but also feature accuracy, reliability and cost-effectiveness previously unattainable with conventional weapons. The Paveway™ LGB is the most successful and widely used precision guided munition. It is the low-cost weapon of choice selected by 36 countries.
The Enhanced Paveway™-II (EP-II) Dual Mode (Laser and GPS) Guided Bomb is the world standard for low-cost, highly reliable, dual-mode, precision guided bombs with all-weather capability. The EP-II dual-mode guidance utilizes GPS for all weather conditions and laser for precision.
Today the F/A-18 offers advanced sensors and weapon capabilities utilizing Raytheon’s leading-edge technologies. Additionally, with more than 50 years experience with the U.S. Department of Defense, Raytheon is fully committed to the U.S. Navy’s vision for the future including the development and insertion of advanced technologies for this premier combat aircraft. Raytheon has sailed waters of the past with the U.S. Navy and will continue to sail beyond the vision of Sea Power 21.