F/A-18 Air Dominance

Providing the Technology behind the Hornet's Continued Air Dominance

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), the APG-79 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.


Raytheon provides APG-79 AESA radar systems for Super Hornets. This combat-proven system substantially increases the power of the Super Hornet, making it less vulnerable than ever before. With its active electronic beam scanning — which allows the radar beam to be steered at nearly the speed of light — the APG-79 optimizes situational awareness and provides superior air-to-air and air-to-surface capability. Further, because of its modular design, the APG-79 radar easily accommodates new technology updates as they become available.

Specifically designed for the Hornet upgrade market, Raytheon's APG-79(V)X AESA radar slips easily into the F/A-18 C/D nose cone. The simple, non-disruptive retrofit can be performed in the field and takes less than an hour to complete. The radar upgrade, along with additional advanced capabilities such as the AN/ALR-67(V)3 Radar Warning Receiver (see additional details below), helps countries extend the lives of their existing aircraft in a time of tighter budgets, ensuring combat relevancy for the F/A-18 C/D platform for years to come.

Other elements in the F/A-18's air dominance equation include:

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 27,000 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.

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® missile, HARM® missile, AGM-65 Maverick® missile, AIM-7 Sparrow® missile, AIM-9M™ Sidewinder missile and AIM-9X® Sidewinder missile; the JSOW® weapon system; and the Paveway® 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 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 AMRAAM missile 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 HARM high-speed anti-radiation missile 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.

The JSOW weapon system 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.

The Paveway laser-guided bomb engages targets with precision accuracy and minimal collateral damage. The Paveway series of laser guided bombs 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 laser-guided bomb 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.