Northrop Grumman on Monday announced the start of system tests of a new Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) developed for use by the U.S. Navy on the MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System (BAMS UAS).
The MFAS is a 360-degree field-of-regard active electronically scanned array radar designed for maritime surveillance. The X-Band two-dimensional sensor features a combination of electronic scanning and a mechanical rotation, allowing the radar to spotlight a geographic area of interest for longer periods to increase detection capabilities of smaller targets, particularly in sea clutter, according to the company.
"BAMS will provide the Navy with a very capable persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system to provide a capability to detect, track, classify, and identify maritime and littoral targets," said Capt. Bob Dishman, the Navy's BAMS UAS program manager.
The MFAS tests are being conducted in a laboratory environment at Northrop Grumman and are expected to continue over the next several months in parallel with ongoing radar software mode development and hardware synchronization and integration activities.
The first MFAS sensor is scheduled for delivery to Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector facility in San Diego, Calif., in June with a second sensor slated for delivery in September. Risk reduction flight tests of the MFAS are planned for later this year onboard the company's Gulfstream II test-bed aircraft.
"This is a very significant first step toward providing the U.S. Navy warfighter with a new and powerful ISR capability," said Paul "Buz" Kalafos, vice president of Surveillance Systems at Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector.