February 19, 2004 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The Israel Air Force has quietly expressed frustration over the Defense Ministry's decision to accept a U.S.-made radar for the new F-16I Sufa.
The Defense Ministry agreed to the Northrop Grumman's AN/APG-68(V)9 multi-mode radar as part of the request for 102 F-16 block 50
aircraft from the United States in 1999. The U.S. Defense Department refused to allow Israel
to install the Elta SAR
radar on the F-16, the staple of NATO
Northrop Grumman's AN/APG-68(V)9 multimode radar will enable crews to detect airborne threats from a range 30% greater than the existing APG-69 system and adds a synthetic-aperture radar mode for high-resolution ground mapping.
Military sources however said that an evaluation by Israeli air force pilots of the U.S. radar showed it to be inferior to an indigenous Israeli radar designed by Elta Electronic Industries. Israeli pilots flew the F-16I in test flights in 2003 in the United States.
See also: First F-16I 'Sufa' jets arrived in Israel - Thursday, February 19, 2004