Raytheon upgrades Korean FA-50 aircraft with PhantomStrike radar

PhantomStrike shown on a rendering of a T-50 aircraft, sister aircraft to the FA-50. (Image Credit: Raytheon)
PhantomStrike shown on a rendering of a T-50 aircraft, sister aircraft to the FA-50. (Image Credit: Raytheon)

Aerospace and defense company Raytheon announced that their PhantomStrike radar will be installed on FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft of the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), following U.S. government approval for direct commercial sales.

“Outfitting the FA-50 with the PhantomStrike radar upgrades the capability of a critical aircraft, providing unparalleled performance in a compact, affordable package,” Raytheon Technologies Global Spectrum Dominance President Annabel Flores stated. Additionally, these jets remain fast, agile, and easily maintainable while benefiting from the enhanced performance delivered by the Raytheon radar.

“PhantomStrike makes it possible for KAI to offer high-performance fire control radar capabilities that can integrate with U.S. and international weapon systems, so FA-50 customers maintain air dominance,” she added.

The production of the radars will take place in Mississippi, Arizona and Scotland with support from Raytheon UK. Initial deliveries are expected in 2025.

What is PhantomStrike?

It is a first-of-its-kind, compact AESA radar that is smaller, lighter and requires less power. PhantomStrike is a fully air-cooled fire-control radar designed to provide long-range threat detection, tracking and targeting.

PhantomStike can be integrated into platforms including light-attack aircraft, rotary-wing aircraft, UAVs, and ground-based towers. PhantomStrike combines two Raytheon Technologies specialties — a gallium nitride-powered array and the compact high-reliability integrated receiver/exciter processor (CHIRP) — to match the capability of modern AESA radars.

PhantomStrike by Raytheon Technologies. (Video credit: Raytheon)
AESA radar explained

Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESA) radar system that utilizes an array of small individual transmit/receive modules to electronically steer the radar beam n different directions without physically moving the antennae themselves. Northrop Grumman is a pioneer in AAESA radars and has been at the forefront of AESA innovations for more than 60 years.

AESA radar technology is now widely used in various military and civilian domains, such as fighter jets, airborne early warning systems, naval vessels, ground-based radar systems, and automotive radar. Its exceptional features have made it an indispensable element in modern radar systems.

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