Aerial Warfare

Northrop Grumman Deep-Space Advanced Radar Capability Extends AUKUS Partnership

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Northrop Grumman Deep-Space Advanced Radar Capability Extends AUKUS Partnership

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Northrop Grumman Deep-Space Advanced Radar Capability Extends AUKUS Partnership
Northrop Grumman Deep-Space Advanced Radar Capability Extends AUKUS Partnership

Northrop Grumman Corporation is developing the Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability (DARC) that will track objects in the geosynchronous orbit, protecting critical U.S. and allied satellites. DARC is a global network of three advanced ground-based sensors to be operated in collaboration with AUKUS alliance partners, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. Leaders from the three countries recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to host and operate DARC as a collaboration to expand beyond what individual nations could achieve alone in one of the most critical domains for future security.

The DARC program is designed to provide 24/7, all-weather capabilities that will increase the ability to detect, track, identify and characterize objects in deep space. The Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability will leverage the geography of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom to further enhance our collective space domain awareness: the ability to track, identify and characterize space objects. Space domain awareness is foundational to responsible space operations, and it is essential for responding to activity in space, whether that activity is routine or hostile. The memorandum of understanding between the three countries will last 22 years.

DARC offers higher sensitivity, better accuracy, increased capacity and more agile tracking than current radars capable of tracking objects in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit. Its ability to provide global monitoring extends beyond inclement weather and daylight, which are limitations of current ground-based optical systems. The capability will also be used to protect the essential services that rely on satellites and communication from space, including everyday aspects of modern life such as mobile phones and TV. Site surveys performed in the U.S., U.K. and Australia confirmed that these locations are optimally positioned to provide full coverages of the GEO.

From its Australian site, the DARC will integrate with other DARC sites in the United States and the United Kingdom. AUKUS has accelerated the delivery of the DARC initiative, and DARC will improve interoperability between the AUKUS partners, a key priority of the AUKUS Advanced Capabilities Program, termed “Pillar II,” is a bold, generational opportunity for AUKUS to harness and uplift our innovation enterprises and industries, remove barriers to cooperation and together develop advanced capabilities for warfighters. All three sites are expected to be operational by the end of the decade.

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