Northrop Grumman has completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) and software demonstration for the US Space Force’s (USSF) Deep-Space Advanced Radar Capability Program (DARC).

Following the completion of CDR, the programme now turns its focus to the Factory Acceptance Testing of key subsystems starting later this year, according to a 30 May release by the company. Key milestones completed within 12 months of the contract award include the Preliminary Design Review, the CDR, and an initial software demonstration.

Northrop Grumman stated that current ground-based optical systems only operate at night and are impacted by weather conditions. The DARC programme will deliver an all-weather, 24/7 capability to monitor the rapidly evolving geosynchronous orbital environment – providing the US with enhanced space domain awareness.

“DARC will be the first to provide an all-weather, at all times capability in support of the space domain awareness mission that’s critical to national and global security,” said Pablo Pezzimenti, vice president, integrated national systems, Northrop Grumman. “The successful critical design review is demonstration of our ability to develop a complex, advanced system with agility and speed.”

DARC will augment the US military’s space surveillance network as an additional sensor to monitor deep space objects, eventually providing full global coverage.

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