The federal government has signed a deal worth more than $180 million to put new modern radars in at least some of the RCAF’s CF-18 fighters. The announcement comes as the government is now saying a decision on a new fighter fleet for the air force will likely come next year. The radars replace 40-year-old equipment with relatively up-to-date systems that will give the Hornet pilots a fighting chance if they need to fire in anger. The radar is part of a life-extension upgrade that will also include new Sidewinder missiles.
AN/APG-79(V)4 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar is a scaled down version of the radars used in front line U.S. Navy aircraft like the FA-18 Super Hornet and the Growler electronic warfare aircraft variant. “Having the right tool for the job matters, and we’re committed to delivering just that for the Royal Canadian Air Force,” Eric Ditmars, Vice President of Secure Sensor Solutions at Raytheon Intelligence and Space, said in a statement. “This upgrade to AESA [active electronically scanned array] radars with GaN [Gallium Nitride] supports longer detection ranges and multiple-target tracking.”