Raytheon has been awarded a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to support the radar system carried on the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract worth around $217m will involve providing support for the sensor and processor for the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System 2-A (ASARS-2A).

Raytheon will perform work under the support and sustainment contract until 2024.

The ASARS-2A radar system is designed to provide high-resolution radar imagery for the U-2 Dragon Lady aircraft from 70,000ft above Earth.

It provides long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities over large areas.

The real-time reconnaissance system is equipped with all-weather, day and night mapping capabilities.

ASARS-2A is capable of detecting and locating stationary and moving ground targets. The sensor performs this task using its ‘ground moving-target indicator and search and spot modes’, Raytheon said.

Raytheon Secure Sensor Solutions director Chad Pillsbury said: “With ASARS-2A, the airforce can detect ground targets day or night, no matter the weather condition. And, it’s reliable. The airforce just completed ASARS-2A’s 9,000th tactical mission in Korea this year.”

The radar system features an on-board processing system that is capable of providing precise location data of targets and allows quick decision-making.

In March, the USAF awarded a contract to Raytheon to develop ASARS-2B radar for the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.

ASARS-2B is expected to double the surveillance range of the aircraft.