The Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $57.1 million contract on Aug. 7 to supply “a demonstration unit of the initial parts” of the MP-RTIP radar configured for the E-8C Joint STARS ground-surveillance aircraft. MP-RTIP is the sophisticated advanced electronically steered array radar system that Northrop and Raytheon are developing for the Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. Jim Stratford, Northrop spokesman, told the Daily Report Monday that the purpose of this contract is to demonstrate what can be done with non-sensor elements of the MP-RTIP to improve the performance of the Joint STARS’ existing APY-7 radar system. According to the company, the APY-7 is facing looming parts obsolescence issues early next decade. The Air Force has been looking at options to install a version of the MP-RTIP on the E-8C. This step doesn’t quite go that far, but would be an improvement. (Defense Department Aug. 7 contract announcements)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.