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US Northern Command issued an exigent request for F-16 active electronically scanned array radars to equip alert fighters defending the homeland. "I actually submitted that urgent need today," NORAD-NORTHCOM Commander Adm. Bill Gortney said in an April 7 Pentagon briefing. "We have some boxes, we have the airplanes, and we should be able to marry them up," he added. District of Columbia Air National Guard alert F-16s, tasked with defending the National Capital Region at JB Andrews, Md., are slated for the first AESA upgrades, Gortney said. The radars are "only a single piece" of integrated air and missile defense, though, he said.  NORAD recently fielded the first set of radar-equipped aerostats near Washington, D.C., and is working to network them with Aegis ships off the coast to "track and share data," he noted. "It's having a little bit of difficulty right now early in its test phase ... but it's not something I think that is insurmountable." Tying in with Aegis will allow threats to be detected and engaged further out so "then you're ... dealing with fewer missiles as they come at you," said Gortney.