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September 14, 2009—Northrop Grumman believes USAF's cuts to its legacy fighter force and the gap before new fighters come on line will create a need to upgrade remaining legacy fighters to sustain them for the air sovereignty alert and destruction of enemy air defenses missions—a requirement the company expects to fill with its Scalable Active Beam Array Radar on the F-16.

Northrop's director of advanced F-16 radar programs, Arlene Camp, told reporters Monday at AFA's Air and Space Conference that the market for upgraded active electronically scanned array radars is “considerable.”

She expects to conduct a flight test employing the company-developed SABR on a Block 50 F-16 in November at Edwards AFB, Calif.

Camp noted that fit testing took two technicians less that five hours, which means that SABR upgrades could be done in the field rather than at a depot. She also noted that SABR now includes new modes, including air-to-air tracking, ground-moving-target-indicator technology, and air-to-ground ranging, all of which are a boon for the F-16's strike mission.

Northrop plans to conduct about a half dozen tests at Edwards this fall.

The company already is in discussion with USAF as the service refines its requirements for a downsized fighter force and prepares its 2012 budget. Camp said Northrop could deliver SABR on a three-year schedule from contract award to first delivery.

Unofficially, an F-16 upgrade program is being termed "Platinum Viper."