Northrop Grumman has selected the Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) radar from the corporation’s Electronic Systems division to equip its entry in the BAMS competition. The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program is being run by the U.S. Navy for an unmanned maritime patrol aircraft capable of medium-altitude, long-endurance patrols. Northrop Grumman’s BAMS entry is the company’s RQ-4 Global Hawk, equipped with a belly radome housing the MFAS radar.
MFAS employs a single e-scan array that rotates to provide full 360-degree coverage. The array is three to four feet wide and a foot deep. The system draws on elements and technology used in the company’s fighter radars, such as the APG-77(V)1 now in production for the F-22, APG-80 for the F-16 and APG-81 for the F-35. MFAS utilizes components from these radars to keep costs down. However, the system is highly modular, and each component has its own development roadmap. As new technology is developed, it can be inserted easily. While maritime surveillance is the primary function, MFAS can easily be adapted later on to perform other functions, such as communications and electronic warfare, if the customer desires.