Northrop Grumman’s Next Generation Digital Antenna Moves into the Design Phase

Northrop Grumman is moving into the design phase of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Aether Spy next-generation multifunction radar program after successfully completing the System Requirements Review (SRR).

Aether Spy advances multifunction wideband digital Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology based on the advanced microelectronics created on the DARPA Arrays on Commercial Timescales (ACT) program. It will develop the next generation of integrated circuits that include additional processing and key design features that enable the Department of Defense trusted microelectronics strategy. The advanced devices will be fabricated and integrated into an advanced digital AESA to demonstrate a multifunction system capable of simultaneously performing multiple sensing, communication, and electronic warfare functions.

William Phillips, Director, multifunction systems at Northrop Grumman, stated that they look forward to demonstrating how the advanced digital AESA technology enables unmatched system agility that will meet the challenging mission requirements of advanced platforms. The advanced integrated circuits, digital AESA architecture and multifunction software developed on Aether Spy will become foundational building blocks for the next generation of multifunction radio frequency (RF) systems supporting the future mission needs of the DoD.

Thomas Dalrymple, Technical advisor for Sensor Subsystems at the AFRL Sensors Directorate, said that this transition of digital AESA technology aligns well with the Air Force’s digital engineering initiatives. Aether Spy will enable significant improvements in surveillance and battle management missions in the future battlespace. The multifunction aspects are enabled by both software and hardware reprogrammability that will ensure this sensor will have operational impact for years to come.

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