Selection of a contractor to demonstrate a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) with precision targeting capabilities on the Grumman F-14 Tomcat has been delayed by at least a month.

Industry responses to the broad agency announcement (BAA) for the flight demonstration were required in early February with a US Navy decision originally expected by the middle of the month and a contract award by 14 March.

On 12 March, however, bidders were notified that the Naval Air Systems Command would post a revised BAA as the original solicitation understated the power available to the SAR.

The revised BAA was due for issue this week, with new bids scheduled for submission by the second half of next month, followed with a selection date by early May. The bidders have been invited to remain in the competition and extra bids are permitted.

The 18-month demonstration, which includes 10 flights, is geared towards providing an upgrade of the Raytheon Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) planned for the Boeing F/A-18E/F fighter (Flight International, 30 January-6 February). Using the F-14 will reduce risk and prove the capability ahead of F/A-18E/F funding being allocated. The USN could deploy the system on operational F-14s if funding is available.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control-Orlando is offering the Tactical All-Weather Collection and Long Range SAR, which is based on Elta's EL/M-2060P, operational on Israeli F-16s, but Lockheed Martin would give it precision targeting capabilities. A US production line is envisaged.

Lockheed Martin Management & Data Systems is bidding the Modular Synthetic Aperture Radar - also known as Falcon SAR - a Ku-band radar already demonstrated on an F-16. The company says it can be modified for the increased range and all-weather capabilities of X-band.

Northrop Grumman declines to comment on its bid but might offer its APG-76 Multi-Mode Radar System, a high-resolution SAR developed for Israeli air force McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantoms.

Raytheon responded to the original BAA, but declines to provide details. Raytheon will determine its next step after examining the revised BAA.

General Atomics offered its Lynx SAR, developed by Sandia National Laboratories. Designed to be used on manned and unmanned aircraft, the Ku-band Lynx will be produced by the UAV manufacturer. A Lynx is being leased by a US government agency, possibly the US Customs Service. Mounted on a manned fixed-wing aircraft, the leased SAR has logged over 220 flight hours without a discrepancy, says the company.

Source: Flight International