test flights in July were used to test new software to enable maritime modes for the MP-RTIP
radar for the NATO AGS system.
Yet despite the immense value of this information, especially when integrated with other information, in detecting and defeating threats, the Air Force still has not acted to upgrade the system with MP-RTIP
even after canceling the planned follow-on E-10A.
To locate cruise missiles and accurately track their trajectory, the MP-RTIP would focus energy on an area about 30 degrees wide, Hernandez explained.
Asked whether the Air Force possibly was structuring the program backwards, Smart said that the current state of the technology and funding already committed to the MP-RTIP program led the service to conclude that Spiral 1 should be the ground-surveillance aircraft.
New computers are being added now, and technology transfers from the Air Force's MP-RTIP are guaranteed for decades.
In December 2003, the Pentagon's Defense Acquisition Board approved Milestone B for Phase II MP-RTIP development, clearing the way for a system-design-and-development (SDD) contract for prime contractor Northrop Grumman, expected in early 2004.
Another urgent Global Hawk sensor requirement, receiving even more funding right now than the MP-RTIP, is Global Hawk's SIGINT payload.
Teal Group forecasts an upgrade that takes advantage of new SAR technologies being developed for current programs ranging in scale from the MP-RTIP to Northrop Grumman's TUAVR (TUAV Radar) developed for the Shadow tactical UAV.
With synthetic-aperture radar and ground-moving-target indication, as well as air-to-air modes, the MP-RTIP
radar is an X-band, active, electronically scanned array (AESA) that has been developed over the past few years as a family of radar that can be sized appropriately for fit aboard various platforms, and it will be the systems integrator's job to assemble the 20-foot-long radar array, install it on the 767-400ER, and integrate it with the rest of the aircraft's onboard systems.
Northrop Grumman is prime contractor for MP-RTIP, but Raytheon will also play a major role.
Following a US Government offer of the Advanced Radar based on the MP-RTIP, Nato established a Natar (Nato Transatlantic Advanced Radar) Project Office in Brussels to define the system.