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New radar sought for MQ-8C

The US Naval Air Systems Command is seeking information on radar technology that could be flown on board the service’s Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned air vehicle.

A request for information solicitation was released on 9 July, and calls for interested vendors to provide information on radar suitable for integration with the Bell 407 helicopter-derived UAV. The deadline for information is 11 August.

“PMA-266 is surveying the industry for current airborne radar/antenna capabilities that can serve to meet MQ-8C Fire Scout radar capability requirements,” the RFI reads.

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US Navy

Operational capabilities of the radar will include: surface search; synthetic aperture radar (SAR); inverse SAR; and weather modes. It should be equipped with an antenna/array with a minimum 180˚ field of regard, the RFI notes.

The radar being sought will weigh up to 81.7kg (180lb) without the radome, and have a maximum external volume of 305mm (12in) below the aircraft, with a 762mm-diameter antenna pedestal and array allocation. Internal allocation will be 686 x 1,170 x 508mm.

This RFI follows the June announcement that the MQ-8B – the predecessor to the C variant based on the Schweizer 330 helicopter – will deploy next year with the Telephonics RDR-1700B maritime surveillance radar installed.

The ZPY-4(V)1 radar – as it is designated by the USN – will provide a broad area search capability that can track some 200 targets beyond 15nm (27.8km) while complementing the other sensors on board the UAV, Northrop Grumman says.

The MQ-8B is expected to be deployed on board the navy’s USS Fort Worth Freedom-class littoral combat ship with the integrated radar in early 2015, Telephonics says.

The 34kg radar operates in X-band in four different modes: surface search, terrain mapping, emergency beacon detection and weather avoidance.

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