WASHINGTON — Fresh off summer wins to upgrade Taiwanese and US Air Force F-16s with new radar systems, Northrop Grumman is looking for more international markets.
The company expects to sell about 1,000 Scalable Agile Beam Radars (SABRs) around the world, Skip Wagner, the company’s director for international business development and strategy for ISR and targeting systems, told reporters on Wednesday.
Wagner said Northrop saw a spike in interest after the company was selected by Lockheed Martin in August, beating out competitor Raytheon, to upgrade the aircraft.
“We have been in contact with several [foreign military sales] customers who have expressed interest,” Wagner said. “We anticipate activity in early 2014, so very soon. We’ve got a lot of interest.”
He made his comments at the Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md.
A large selling point for the program has been that it would provide commonality with advanced fighters, most notably F-35 joint strike fighters, which is expected to be popular in the world market as well as being the backbone of the US Air Force. SABR brings in hardware and operating modes from the F-35 and F-22 active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, also developed by Northrop.
Despite that commonality, South Korea went with Raytheon’s radar for its F-16 upgrade. But Northrop is not concerned that could be a sign that the commonality argument is overplayed.
“We respect South Korea’s acquisition decisions and policies, and we’re committed to satisfying our contracts and our customer,” Wagner said.
The next milestone is a system requirements review, occurring in about two months. That will be followed by a number of design reviews, with Wagner expressing confidence that they will be ready for the US Air Force initial operational capability date of 2020. He said he has not seen any indication that the program could be delayed by sequestration.■