Selex Galileo Improves Grifo Radar for New Applications

 - March 23, 2012, 4:00 PM
The Grifo radar is a good fit for advanced trainers and light combat aircraft, according to Selex Galileo. (Photo: Selex Galileo)

Selex Galileo has added new modes to the long-selling Grifo fire control radar and has also designed a pod-mounted version. Angelo Aprile, the company’s head of capability in Italy, told the Military Flight Training conference in London organized by Defence IQ that more than 450 “advanced but affordable” Grifo systems have been sold worldwide. Applications include the F-5E/F, Mirage III, L-159, F-7 (Chinese-built MiG-21bis) and Sikorsky HH-60 helicopter. The most recent announced sale was last year–a second order by the Brazilian air force for its F-5 fleet.

The Grifo radar already includes a variety of air-to-air and air-to-surface modes, including ground mapping and maritime target track, as well as a terrain avoidance mode, according to Aprile. The new air-to-surface modes are simultaneous MTI with SAR and automatic target classification. The new air-to-air modes are raid assessment and air-to-air inverse SAR (AA/ISAR). Aprile said that the AA/ISAR feature is invaluable for non-cooperative target recognition, and showed a pixelated image of an opposing combat aircraft that was clearly identifiable by type.

Aprile said that the Grifo’s ECCM capability has been proven in real threat scenarios. “We have had the opportunity to test against Eastern as well as Western technology,” he added. The podded version, designated Grifo-7, is designed for light attack and trainer aircraft such as the Chinese-designed K-8 jet or the Alenia-Aermacchi MB339. The pod is easily installed on underwing hardpoints and, says Selex Galileo, provides multimode performance that closely replicates that obtained from a typical nose-mounted installation.

Selex Galileo continues to market the Grifo for advanced jet trainers that can also serve as light combat aircraft. According to Aprile, the Grifo’s best detection and tracking performance has been obtained on the Czech L-159 advanced light combat aircraft. The nose of the Alenia-Aermacchi M346 advanced jet trainer was designed to accept the Grifo radar. Selex Galileo has also studied how the radar could be fitted to the Romanian IAR-99 jet trainer. According to Aprile, light combat aircraft fitted with the Grifo can be effective interceptors of larger, fourth-generation fighter types. Or in the training role, they save money by “downloading” portions of the operational conversion syllabus that is currently flown by expensive front-line combat aircraft.