United States of America
MQ-8B Fire Scout
- Affordable Adaptable Conformal Electronic Scanning Antenna Radar
- Common Operating System
- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
- Future Combat Systems
- Ground Moving Target Indicator
- Joint Unmanned Combat Air System
- Synthetic Aperture Radar
- 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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