ACT-IV digital sensor system delivered to DARPA and AFRL
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ACT-IV digital sensor system delivered to DARPA and AFRL

01 Sep 2021 (Last Updated September 1st, 2021 09:57)

Northrop Grumman is serving as the primary research team for the ACT-IV programme.

ACT-IV digital sensor system delivered to DARPA and AFRL
Northrop Grumman tests the ACT-IV digital AESA system at its radar range in Linthicum, Maryland. Credit: Northrop Grumman.

US-based defence company Northrop Grumman has delivered an Arrays at Commercial Timescales Integration and Validation (ACT-IV) sensor system to the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The digital active electronically scanned array (AESA) system will be used for ‘continued advancement and experimentation’.

It has completed multiple demonstrations and acceptance tests at Northrop’s test facilities.

Northrop Grumman multifunction systems director William Phillips said: “The development of the ACT-IV system is a breakthrough in AESA performance and marks an important milestone in the nation’s transition to digitally reprogrammable multifunction radio frequency (RF) systems.

“The new ACT-IV capabilities have the agility to defeat complex emerging threats and will be used to enhance the next generation of integrated circuits and AESAs that are currently in our digital AESA product pipeline.”

According to DARPA, ACT-IV is one of the first multifunction systems based on a digital AESA using semiconductor devices developed on the agency’s Arrays at Commercial Timescales (ACT) programme.

Northrop Grumman is acting as the ACT-IV programme’s primary research team.

The system’s capabilities were proven in several demonstrations at Northrop Grumman’s test range in Linthicum, Maryland.

It is designed to allow future warfighters to quickly adapt to new threats, control the electromagnetic spectrum and connect to tactical networks.

The ACT-IV system will serve as a base research asset for a DoD multi-service research initiative being conducted for digital radars and multifunction systems.

AFRL Sensors Directorate ACT-IV project lead Dr Bae-Ian Wu said: “This delivery is the culmination of close collaboration between the teams at AFRL, DARPA and Northrop Grumman.

“The ACT-IV system is being prepared for initial testing by the AFRL Sensors Directorate as part of a strategic investment to develop and test the technologies for multifunction digital phased array systems in an open-architecture environment for the larger Department of Defence (DoD) community.”