U.S. Army Tactical Radar Contract Could Support Gray Eagle UAV’s ZPY-1 STARLite

On March 27, the U.S. Army announced that it had awarded Northrup Grumman Systems of Linthicum Heights, Michigan, a $52.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (W56JSR-20-D-0006) to provide inspection, testing, and support services for an unnamed type of tactical radar, an award that included supply chain management and quality assurance.  The Army solicited bids for the contract via the Internet, and received only one response.

While this new contract does not specify an exact type of tactical radar, it is quite likely it supports Northrop Grumman’s ZPY-1 Small Tactical Radar – Lightweight, also known as the STARLite.  The STARLite radar equips the Army’s MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAV platform, providing intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance with SAR imaging capabilities, as well as ground moving target indicator (GMTI) and dismount moving target indicator (DMTI) functionality.

MQ-1C Gray Eagle. Image – US Army

STARLite development funding ended recently, with the system becoming fully mature for mission service on board a type of UAV that is also nearing the end of deliveries.  Because of this, the radar is transitioning into a pure sustainment phase of service life.  The Army requires that its MQ-1C Gray Eagles fly for many years to come, so the platform’s primary surveillance radars must be kept in good working order; a contract like this would assure the STARLite’s continued operation.

Under this radar support contract, work locations and funding will be determined with each order, but all work has an estimated completion date of March 30, 2025.  The U.S. Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is acting as the contracting activity for this award.

For more information on the ZPY-1 STARLite program or its MQ-1C Gray Eagle platform, please contact your Forecast International sales representative and ask about FI’s Airborne Electronics Forecast, A/N Equipment Forecast, Radar Forecast, or Unmanned Vehicles Forecast – Airborne Systems products.  For up-to-the-hour coverage of these market areas, please inquire about Forecast International’s Platinum Forecast System.

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In his role as a Senior Defense Electronics Analyst at Forecast International, C. Zachary Hofer's studies focus primarily on air, land, and sea radar systems, as well as the airborne electronics segment.

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