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104th Fighter Wing Accepts First AESA Radar

Release Number: 032113

F-15 Eagles from the Massachusetts Air National Guard‘s 104th Fighter Wing arrive at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., April 9, 2011, to participate in the Weapons System Evaluation Program there. The two-week training and evaluation program is important for ground crews to test their maintenance systems and processes while loading live munitions on the fighters. The WSEP also provides live training for the F-15 pilots to employ air-to-air missiles against remotely piloted target drones in flight.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Mark W. Fortin)

F-15 Eagles from the Massachusetts Air National Guard‘s 104th Fighter Wing arrive at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., April 9, 2011, to participate in the Weapons System Evaluation Program there. The two-week training and evaluation program is important for ground crews to test their maintenance systems and processes while loading live munitions on the fighters. The WSEP also provides live training for the F-15 pilots to employ air-to-air missiles against remotely piloted target drones in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Mark W. Fortin)


The 104th Fighter Wing is scheduled to accept its first F-15 equipped  with the new advanced Active Electronic Scanned Array Radar (AESA) today.

The AESA radar has far superior capability than current operational radars in many of the Air National Guard's F-15 fleet. The AESA radar replaces the current APG-63(v)0 mechanically scanned radar with a stationary array of over one thousand transmitter-receiver modules. These modules have the capability to perform different detection,
tracking, communication, and jamming functions. AESA radars provide significant increases in the F-15s ability to detect, track, and eliminate multiple threats faster and with greater efficiency.

"This is our first of six AESA equipped aircraft that we will leverage to better protect the Northeast airspace," said Col. James Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing Commander. "This radar is virtually unmatched, and underlines the relevance of the F-15 in today's Air Force. This is the right aircraft for the Alert Mission, and we are very excited about the opportunity to utilize this new enhanced capability."

Each of the four F-15 alert bases will be equipped with the AESA radars; thus ensuring the Air National Guard is best equipped to provide continuous protection of the homeland. The radar allows for a greater than 200% improved capability to detect, identify and target threats over previous radar systems.

"The new advanced radar system also allows the wing to develop joint tactics with 5th generation fighter aircraft like the F-22," said Keefe. "The F-15 has an unbeaten combat record. With this radar and integration with the newest fighters in the AF inventory; the F-15 will remain the first-choice to protect the homeland."

This radar coupled with additional F-15 aircraft upgrades are expected to keep the aircraft flying through at least 2035, and the Air Force may extend the long-term status to all 249 F-15Cs and Ds based on future needs, according to congressional testimony in 2012 from Maj. Gen. James Holmes, the assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, and Maj. Gen. John Posner, the director of global power programs

The AESA radar installed in Aircraft 111 is the first of six the base expects over the course of 2013-2014. Aircraft 111, named in honor of the city of Holyoke, has also been used by the Air National Guard and Air Force to conduct advanced system tests, which, once incorporated throughout the fleet will further enhance its capabilities.

"The city of Holyoke is honored to have our city name affixed on Aircraft #111 as it protects the entire Northeast," said Representative Aaron Vega, 5th Hamden District. "Holyoke is a city of innovation, and in many ways the aircraft represents not only its residents, but the initiatives we have made over the past year to advance our position as the city of choice for technology and research development."