New Long-Range Radar for US Army ARL-E Dash 8s

Northrop Grumman has been selected by the US Army to develop a new synthetic aperture radar (SAR)/ground moving target indicator (GMTI) Long-Range Radar (LRR) system for the Airborne Reconnaissance Low-Enhanced (ARL-E) Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft. The company announced that it has been awarded the contract on September 24.

The manufacturer says that its LRR solution is intended to enhance the US Army’s C4ISR capabilities by combining the proven Generation 2 Vehicle and Dismount and Exploitation Radar (VADER) back-end electronics and software with a high technology readiness level airborne electronically scanned array (AESA) system. This will meet the demanding performance requirements of ARL-E and in particular the dismount moving target indication.

Steve McCoy, vice president of tactical sensor solutions, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, said: “The Long Range Radar is a natural fit into the Northrop Grumman family of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance [ISR] systems and mission solutions. Our low-risk, affordable solution combines mature active electronically scanned array technology with operationally proven hardware and software to meet all-weather and long-range ISR requirements.”

The US Army currently operates nine EO-5B/C Crazy Hawks, modified from commercial de Havilland Canada Dash 7s, in the Airborne Reconnaissance Low configuration, plus a single TO-5C crew trainer. The new ARL-E Dash 8s are intended to provide an upgraded ARL system. Earlier this year, on April 7, the US Army purchased six Dash-8-315s from Dynamic Aviation of Bridgewater, Virginia, which were already being used by the US Army on lease from the company for the ARL mission. They are already configured with either the Desert Owl or Saturn Arch counter-improvised explosive device (IED) systems and have been already been used for some years on missions in Afghanistan. In addition to these six, the US Army is expected to acquire a further three ARL-E Dash 8s, although one will purely be used in the crew training role. Alan Warnes