Raytheon to Support ASARS-2A Radar System on U.S. Air Force U-2 High-Altitude Reconnaissance Aircraft

Raytheon has received a $217 million U.S. Air Force IDIQ contract to support and sustain the sensor and processor for the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System 2A (ASARS-2A) that flies on the U-2 Dragon Lady high altitude reconnaissance aircraft.

According to a statement released by the company, the contract work will be performed through 2024.

ASARS-2A Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) system provides the U-2 aircraft with long-range, high-resolution intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities over large areas, from as high as 70,000 feet above Earth.

“With ASARS-2A, the Air Force can detect ground targets day or night, no matter the weather condition,” said Chad Pillsbury, director at Raytheon Secure Sensor Solutions. “And, it’s reliable. The Air Force just completed ASARS-2A’s 9,000th tactical mission in Korea this year.”

The ASARS-2A sensor locates moving and stationary targets using its ground moving-target indicator (GMTI) and search and spot modes. Its on-board processing system delivers near-real-time, precise target location data. This allows decision-makers to respond quickly, rather than relying on ground stations to process the targeting data.

Lockheed U-2, nicknamed “Dragon Lady”, is an American single-jet engine, ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It provides day and night, high-altitude (70,000 feet; 21,000 m), all-weather intelligence gathering.

Raytheon is also developing a new version of the ASARS-2A radar system under a $320 million undefinitized contract from the U.S. Air Force. Equipped with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna, ASARS-2B doubles the surveillance range while maintaining the mapping and imagery resolution of the current ASARS-2A system. ASARS-2B completed flight test at Edwards Air Force Base in California in early 2019.

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