The Navy’s new P-8 patrol plane, like the 40-year-old P-3 it’s replacing, began as a submarine hunter. Over time, the old P-3 picked up ground-surveillance missions using special radars, including the Littoral Surveillance Radar System.
To make sure the P-8 hits the ground running in 2013, the Navy is giving it a similar radar, too — and now I have art, thanks to a Boeing insider. (Pictured.)
So what will this radar do? Last year Bill Sweetman explained:
LSRS is designed to provide targeting-grade tracking of moving targets on land and at sea. In September, one of the LSRS P-3s supported a test of the Navy/Boeing SLAM-ER missile against a moving target, a simulated SA-10 missile launcher, at China Lake; follow-on tests were to use the same combination of systems against a maneuvering ground target. In 2010, LSRS is due to support a large-scale Joint Surface Warfare (JSuW) demonstration, providing targeting updates to air- and ship-launched weapons ranging from JDAMs to Harpoons.
Tracking maneuvering ground targets is something the Air Force wanted to do with its E-10 radar plane, but the E-10 got canceled years ago in favor of more fighters. So now the Navy is picking up the mission. Remember what I said a few months back … that these days the Navy is a better air force than the Air Force?