Joint STARS surveillance radar systems to be demonstrated by Northrop Grumman

HANSCOM AFB, Mass., 9 Aug. 2009. Radar systems designers at the Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems Western Region in El Segundo, Calif., will provide radar technology demonstration equipment for an upgraded Joint STARS surveillance radar under terms of a $27.2 million contract awarded Friday.

The Joint STARS airborne radar is a side-looking military radar system and radar processing subsystems designed to detect and track targets on the ground, such as columns of military vehicles. Joint STARS stands for Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System.

Northrop Grumman engineers will provide a demonstration unit of the initial radar signal processing and other parts of the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program MP-RTIP for the Joint Stars E-8 airborne radar surveillance aircraft, which is a converted Boeing 707 jetliner.

Awarding the contract were officials of the U.S. Air Force Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft Program Office at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.

MP-RTIP program seeks to develop three sizes of a common modular, scalable radar, in three sizes: a large, wide area surveillance version for the Joint STARS aircraft, a medium-size version for NATO, and a small version for the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle.

The program is to use scalable Active Electrically Scanned Array or AESA radar technology modules for manufacturing radar antennas and radar systems of different sizes.

MP-RTIP is a high-resolution synthetic-aperture ground surveillance radar for an upgraded E-8 Joint STARS aircraft that eventually will be applied to a new manned wide-area surveillance (WAS) aircraft, which is to be a converted Boeing 767 jetliner.

The MP-RTIP's resolution reportedly has been improved to about one foot, from more than 12 to 14 feet in the Joint STARS radar. The system consists of the antenna, the radio frequency electronics, and the signal processor.

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