Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract for delivery of additional STARLite synthetic aperture radar (SAR)/ground moving target indication (GMTI) sensor systems for integration into the US Army's MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system (UAS) fleet.
The contract option covers delivery of 44 STARLite devices, bringing the total number of systems ordered to date by the army to 174 under the extended range/multi-purpose unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) radar programme.
Northrop Grumman tactical sensor solutions vice president Steve McCoy said the contract confirmed the army's trust in STARLite's reliability, which has exceeded specifications during its deployment in the battlefield.
"STARLite's record of performance means warfighters on the ground can count on it to provide the airborne intelligence they need in critical situations," McCoy added.
Weighing 65lbs, the compact, lightweight AN/ZPY-1 STARLite radar is designed to support a wide range of manned and UAVs in conducting wide area surveillance and detection of stationary, dismounted and moving targets in all-weather conditions.
Derived from the combat proven AN/ZPQ-1 tactical endurance synthetic aperture radar (TESAR), the STARLite is capable of delivering accurate ground maps and indications of moving targets, which are critical for safety of ground troops.
Each radar features a complete software package for interfacing with army systems, and also shows compatibility with a standard ground control station to enhance flexibility and reduce training and logistics requirements.
In addition to exhibiting its capabilities on the army's Persistent Threat Detection Systems (PTDS), the radar also participated in digital interoperability demonstrations at Camp Roberts in California, US, and highlighted its data sharing ability over a network and cue non-collated sensors.
Deliveries under the contract are scheduled to begin in April 2013 and be complete by March 2014.
Image: A US Army's MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS during its flight. Photo: Photo courtesy of US Army.