DARPA continues with Phase 3 of ISIS

Lockheed Martin Corp. has won a $400 million prime contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to design, build and flight test a model of a high-altitude, autonomous airship featuring advanced radar that would provide theaterwide surveillance and tracking capabilities.

The work is for Phase 3 of DARPA’s Integrated Sensor Is Structure (ISIS) program, agency and company officials announced April 27. The program’s goal is to develop the core technologies necessary to demonstrate a radar-sensor package operating at stratospheric altitudes.

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will provide systems integration services, and Raytheon Co. will furnish a high-energy, low-power density radar, Lockheed Martin officials said.

The goal of the ISIS program is provide radar capable of delivering persistent, wide-area surveillance tracking and engagement of air targets within a 600-kilometer area and ground targets within a 300-mile area, according to DARPA.

Raytheon’s active electronically scanned array antenna will transmit on ultra high frequency and X-band from an autonomous airship operating at 70,000 feet. When the airship is eventually fielded, it would scan for targets and communicate directly with battlefield forces from a single antenna for up to 10 years, Raytheon officials said.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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