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Northrop Grumman’s DAS and AESA Radar Detect, Track, Target Ballistic Missiles

Northrop Grumman, a leading global security company conducted demonstrations to display the ballistic missile detection, tracking and targeting capabilities of its AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and AN/AAQ-37 distributed aperture system (DAS). The AESA radar and the DAS are utilized on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft.

F-35 DAS and APG-81 radar for the JSF detect multiple rocket launches

The demonstration was organized in agreement with NASA and the U.S. Air Force to ensure that it did not affect NASA's primary science mission goals. The systems were showcased in flight onboard Northrop Grumman’s BAC1-11 testbed aircraft. The APG-81 and DAS performed autonomously and detected, tracked and targeted several simultaneous ballistic rockets. The DAS not only detected all the rockets and launched in rapid succession, but also tracked them from initial launch even before the second stage burnout. The APG-81 provided acquisition and weapons quality tracks autonomously while using the cues provided by the DAS to extend range target acquisition. The radar steadily tracked from start up to the point when the rocket disappeared from the field of view.

Jeff Leavitt, Northrop Grumman's Vice President of combat avionic systems business unit stated that the DAS is designed to continuously and simultaneously focus in all directions so that an operator does not have to direct the sensor at a target to gain a track and can continue focusing on the primary mission.

The multifunctional AESA radar is efficient to handle the full range of air-to-air and air-to-surface capabilities with appropriate surveillance, electronic warfare and intelligence, and reconnaissance functions. The DAS provides the F-35 with passive spherical awareness while providing visual imagery for navigation and targeting purposes at all times.

Source: http://www.northropgrumman.com

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