06 May 2015

AN APG-63(V) & APG-82(V)

Author: Dr. David L. Rockwell, Drawn From: Military Electronics Briefing

AN APG-63(V) & APG-82(V)

The AN/APG-63(V) is the fire control radar for the F-15A/B/C/D Eagle fighter. A modified version, the AN/APG-70, superseded the APG-63 on the F-15E Strike Eagle, but was then itself to be replaced with the APG-63(V)1, as part of a comprehensive APG-63 upgrade. The APG-63(V)1 LRIP contract was awarded in August 1997, with full rate production beginning in 2002. Japan and South Korea also chose the APG-63(V)1 (Japanese license production by MELCO was just beginning in2006).

In 2004 the Air Force changed its plans to upgrade 400 F-15s with the APG-63(V)1, and instead (following the success of the Active Electronically Scanned Array [AESA] APG-63 (V)2) decided to add the APG-63(V)3, essentially a combination of the APG-63(V)1 with an AESA antenna. However, production of (V)3 upgrades for the USAF and Air National Guard (ANG) has been limited, with Singapore’s new F-15SGs getting the (V)3 first.

U.S. Forecast

The USAF has long planned to keep its F-15C/Ds in service until at least 2025, alongside the F-22. In March 2014, the Air Force proposed retiring 51 additional F-15Cs, leaving about 179 F-15C/Ds in service, but final numbers (which will also include about 48 US Air National Guard F-

15C/Ds), as well as retirement dates, are still uncertain pending future budget decisions. All these aircraft are funded in the February 2015 (FY16) budget or planned to get the new APG-63(V)3. With the F-22 dead, the Air Force can ask for F-15 AESA radar funding without any fear of it jeopardizing its highest priority.

The 220 F-15Es the Air Force plans to keep in service through at least 2030 will get an even newer radar which entered development in FY09, the APG-63(V)4 Radar Modernization Program (RMP) radar, now designated AN/APG-82(V)1, which replaces the APG-63(V)1 back-end with a modified AN/APG-79 radar back-end from the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and also adds an AESA antenna. APG-82 test flights began in January 2011, and APG-82-equipped USAF F-15Es began flying in July 2014.

International Forecast

Internationally, despite the political fallout over recent events in the region, the Saudis have wanted a new batch of F-15s for some time. Saudi Arabia’s F-15SA order has now been confirmed and production has begun with the APG-63(V)3. Thus, our radar production forecast lines will continue in force for both the APG-63(V)3 (Saudi Arabia and the USAF/ANG) and the APG-82(V)1 (USAF F-15Es).

Teal Group no longer sees a good possibility for new F-15 buyers. We have also removed major follow-on orders for existing customers. But though Boeing’s new-platform production line may be shutting down, there is more than a decade ahead of major Raytheon radar upgrades. South Korea was offered the APG-63(V)3 as part of Boeing’s stealth enhanced F-15SE Silent Eagle bid for the F-X III program, so Teal Group expects the new AESA radars will be releasable to all current F-15 users.

Japan has reportedly expressed interest in a fleet-wide radar upgrade for its F-15J (F-15C/D); today this would be the APG-63(V)3, but a few years out the APG-82 may prove to be the superior radar (thought probably still more expensive).

Near-term radar upgrades are also likely for Saudi Arabia – probably already planned and probably to be produced in parallel with or immediately following F-15SA radar production. The APG-82 would be the likely replacement for the F-15S’s APG-70, as for the USAF F-15E radars. In early 2015, unconfirmed reports indicated the Israeli Air Force would upgrade (or planned to upgrade) its Boeing F-15I strike aircraft, including replacement of the APG-70 radar, also moswe t likely with Raytheon’s APG-82. The remaining F-15 customers – Israel (earlier versions), Japan, and South Korea – are also likely to begin upgrades to AESA antennas in the next decade, and have included a healthy “Undetermined” forecast line.

Note that all our international AESA upgrade Production Forecasts are speculative – no schedules have been publically announced – and actual production schedules will likely vary from our forecasts. Unless AESA transmit/receive (T/R) module costs decrease drastically, all the various APG-63 and APG-82 upgrades will be worth about $6 billion in our forecast period. This will make F-15 radars one of the world’s largest radar programs over the next ten years – much more valuable than what may eventually be a greater number of (less expensive) F-16 AESA upgrades.

About the Author

Dr. David L. Rockwell

Dr. David L. Rockwell

Dr. David L. Rockwell has been Senior Analyst, Electronics at Teal Group since 1995, where he is editor of Teal's Military Electronics Briefing (MEB) as well as co-author of Teal's annual World Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems; Market Profile and Forecast.

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