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13 Sep 05. Raytheon Systems Limited told BATTLESPACE that the ASTOR Sentinel contract for the RAF is back on track after a difficult year getting the radar up to specification. Thomas Kennedy, VP Integrated Airborne Systems told BATTLESPACE that the new radar, as yet to be designated, would be the first active array radar in service on an ISR system. The radar, a derivative of the SASARS 2 U-2 radar has features derived from the sensor package as supplied by Raytheon on the Global Hawk. The EMI tests have been completed and the radar was delivered in June. The first full-up flight test will take place in the UK this week. Aircraft 2 is in flight test and the radar delivered, whilst No. 3 is expected to fly in Q5 06 and Nos. 4 & 5 are ahead of schedule. The Ground Station Risk Reduction exercise has been completed and the Environmental testing. Speed and Mobility testing will be completed in Q4 05. Staff training of No 5 Squadron has been completed at RAF Waddington, as has the Aeronautical Information Document Unit at RSAF Northolt.

In another development the collapse of the US ACS contract with Lockheed Martin and its Embraer platform has led to interest in the ASTOR programme form the U.S. Army. “The U.S. Army has seen that the ASTOR Programme is now completely de-risked and we can now supply a solution equivalent to that required for AGS,” Jack Cronin, Managing Director of RSL said.

“In the UK, the success of ASTOR in the UK and DCGS in the US and our involvement in such programmes as JETTS has led to the MoD looking to RSL to provide a number of NEC solutions. We are competing a number of key programmes in the UK and are interested in bidding into such new requirements as Listener and the NCCT, Networking Collaborative Targeting requirement for the AWACS.

“Export requirements will be led form the U.K. where we now have full Design Authority and IP for the system, we have a number of countries interested in the system,” Cronin said.

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