LINTHICUM, Md., July 15, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has successfully completed the first test flight of a new Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar (VADER) system under a contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

VADER is a radar sensor being developed by Northrop Grumman for use with the Sky Warrior unmanned aircraft system (UAS) developed for the U.S. Army's Extended Range/Multi-Purpose UAS Program by General Atomics Aeronauticals Systems, Inc. When deployed, VADER will allow accurate Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) data and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery to be readily available to ground commanders in real time.

During this first test flight conducted in Georgetown, Md., high resolution SAR imagery and GMTI data were collected on a Northrop Grumman PBN Islander test aircraft and processed on a radar ground station to show vehicle motion on the ground.

"Capturing high quality SAR images on the first flight is an unusual accomplishment and a significant one for the DARPA program," said Brian Reise, VADER program manager for the Advanced Concepts and Technologies Division of Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector. "Notably, the design, building and integration of this complex system were completed in a very short 18 month timeframe."

The activity included development of a new antenna and unmanned aerial system-compatible receiver/exciter/processor with associated software. The antenna was designed to support multiple missions, including the capability to detect dismounts and facilitate the exploitation of this data.

The DARPA project is sponsored by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Office (JIEDDO). Awarded in 2006, the objective of the VADER program was to design, build and test a radar system within two years.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  Contact:  Alleace Gibbs
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems 
          (410) 765-1294