NORTHROP GRUMMAN Systems Corporation was awarded a $34.666 million contract on August 18 by the US Army to maintain continued operation of the Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar (VADER) system that is deployed in Afghanistan. This is a follow-on to a previous VADER contract, awarded to Northrop Grumman on July 11, 2012, for engineering and technical services to support the system.
The new award continues VADER operations in Afghanistan through to December 31, 2014. The VADER system provides accurate ground moving target indicator (GMTI) data and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery to ground commanders in real time. The antenna has the ability to detect people travelling on foot from altitudes of up to 25,000ft (7,620m), which makes it ideal for its current primary mission – detecting teams planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan.
VADER, which was originally tested by Northrop Grumman on a BN-2 Islander, was originally designed for use on the US Army’s MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAV. More widespread use has led to VADER being operated from fixed-wing aircraft. Currently, two Twin Otters with VADER mounted under their noses are believed to be operating with the US Army in Afghanistan. In a further expansion of its use, VADER is also being installed on a King Air 350ER under a US Army contract awarded on April 18, 2014, to Lockheed Martin. Integration of VADER on the aircraft is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2015. Alan Warnes