In the trenchesNorthrop Grumman successfully demonstrates VADER dismount detection

Published 17 February 2010

Northrop Grumman’s Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar (VADER) capable of tracking vehicles and foot traffic over a wide area; it is used with medium altitude, long endurance UAVs and smaller manned aircraft; it should help U.S. and Coalition forces better detect militants as they try to plant IEDs

Good news for soldiers in the field who must constantly worry about IEDs. Northrop Grumman has successfully completed flight testing of its new Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar (VADER), capable of tracking vehicles and foot traffic over a wide area. VADER is being developed by Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems sector for use with medium altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial systems and smaller manned aircraft. When deployed, VADER will provide U.S. Army ground commanders with real-time accurate Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) data and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery.

The outstanding success of these radar sensor demonstrations clearly shows the capability of VADER to add enhanced tracking of combatants to the Army’s mission,” said Steve McCoy, vice president of the sector’s Advanced Concepts business unit. “The flight tests not only proved that the system can detect individuals walking over a wide area, but it can track over varying ranges, altitudes and platform speeds as well.”

More than 120 flight tests have been conducted over an 18-month time period. The flights demonstrated multiple GMTI radar modes, including detection of vehicles, watercraft, people, and animals. In addition, SAR imagery was collected against stationary targets of interest. The Army’s test and evaluation command is currently assessing the results of the VADER flight tests.

Northrop Grumman was awarded the VADER development contract in 2006, with the first system test flight accomplished ahead of schedule last year in Maryland. During those flight tests, high resolution SAR imagery and GMTI data were collected and processed on a radar ground station to show vehicle motion on the ground.

The VADER program is sponsored by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Office (JIEDDO) and has been managed by both DARPA and Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) in conjunction with Army Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate. DMEA awarded follow -on contracts to Northrop Grumman in January 2009 to improve the capability and support testing by the Army.