Advanced Radar for FCS Class IV UAV

Released on Wednesday, September 29, 2004
United States of America
A160 Hummingbird
MQ-8B Fire Scout
AACER - Affordable Adaptable Conformal Electronic Scanning Antenna Radar
COS - Common Operating System
DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
FCS - Future Combat Systems
GMTI - Ground Moving Target Indicator
J-UCAS - Joint Unmanned Combat Air System
SAR - Synthetic Aperture Radar
UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded funding to Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems, $5.78 million, and Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, $6.06 million, for the development of the Affordable Adaptable Conformal Electronic Scanning Antenna Radar (AACER).

The AACER program began this summer following the funding release. The advanced radar program will focus on developing extended range ground moving target indication (GMTI) radar combined with a high resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and integrated communications to fulfill the requirements of the tactical level. The AACER advanced radar system is aimed at tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as the US Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) Unit of Action Class IV UAV or the A-160 Hummingbird.

The AACER highlight is an unprecedented high update rates for tracked targets, and persistent stare over large areas with high update rates. The resulting radar system will provide the US Army with an enhanced GMTI/SAR reconnaissance, surveillance, target indication and tracking capability suitable for airborne platforms such as UAVs.

The initial phase will run over a 12-month period with contractors demonstrating key electronic scanning antenna technology and developing preliminary designs for each radar concept. In phase II, DARPA will down-select to a single contractor to perform a system design and build key sub-assemblies that meet form factors of the Class IV UAV. Phase III will focus on the final system integration and flight test demonstration prior to fielding this new capability. The AACER technology may also be useful to other US ground forces such as US Marine Corps and special operations forces.

In addition, DARPA also awarded Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory of Laurel, Maryland, a $27 million other transaction contract to act as the integrator/broker of the Common Operating System (COS) development for the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS). The development work will be conducted over the next five years by a Johns Hopkins led team/consortium, soon to be established.

J-UCAS program COS will allow US Navy and US Air Force to interoperate multiple J-UCAS vehicles and control elements. Moreover, COS will facilitate integration of other sub-systems into the J-UCAS platform such as sensors, weapons and communications. Applications and services that provide command and control, communications management, mission planning, interactive autonomy and the human systems interface will run on Common Operating System.


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