Deep space tracking radar contract to develop a radar site that can track active satellites and debris in high orbits is won by Northrop Grumman. Worth $341 million, the project is known as Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability (DARC). Here the radar system will be developed by Northrop Grumman and will be located in the Indo-pacific region.
The Space Systems Command’s Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC) awarded the contract on February 22. The radar system developed would be one of three planned ground-based radar sites to be installed in dispersed locations around the world. The company has to complete a prototype by September 2025.
The DARC program was started by the U.S. Air Force in 2017. The Air Force spent $1.5 billion on the Space Fence space surveillance radar to track objects in low Earth orbit. DARC will track objects in geosynchronous orbit. The three DARC sites are projected to cost $1 billion. Space Systems Command programs leader Lt. Col. Kelly Greiner said, “DARC Site 1 will provide 24/7 all-weather capabilities that increase the ability to detect, track, identify and characterize objects in deep space,” DARC will be more advanced than current radar and optical sensors, said Greiner. It will “fill critical gaps and significantly enhance current space domain awareness capabilities.”
Pablo Pezzimenti, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of integrated national systems, said, “The DARC program will field a resilient ground-based radar providing our nation with significantly enhanced space domain awareness for geostationary orbit. While current ground-based systems operate at night and can be impacted by weather conditions, DARC will provide an all-weather, 24/7 capability to monitor the highly dynamic and rapidly evolving geosynchronous orbital environment critical to national and global security.”
Furthermore, the announcement also included the two additional sites. DARC will augment the military’s space surveillance network as an additional sensor with increased capacity and capability to monitor deep space objects and eventually provide full global coverage. The initial DARC contract includes the design, development, and delivery of a Site 1 system located in the Indo-Pacific region, expected to be completed in 2025. There will be a follow-on of two additional sites strategically placed around the world.
About Northrop Grumman: Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Its pioneering solutions equip our customers with the capabilities they need to connect, advance, and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve its customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.