Northrop Grumman [NOC] yesterday announced it recently delivered the first two production AN/ZPY-1 STARLite radars for the Army’s Extended Range / Multi-Purpose (ERMP) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS).

Northrop Grumman is working under a $78.5 million dollar contract with the Army’s Robotics and Unmanned Sensors Product Office at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., to provide a total of 33 STARLite radar systems by April 2011.

STARLite is a small, lightweight radar for supporting tactical operations. By providing precise battlefield intelligence in all types of weather and in battlefield obscurants, day and night, STARLite significantly improves battlefield situational awareness and optimizes force maneuver and engagement for mission success, the company said in a statement.

Each STARLite radar features both Synthetic Aperture Radar and Ground Moving Target Indicator capabilities and comes equipped with a complete software package for interfacing with the Army common ground station, enabling easy operator control of the SAR maps and ground moving target detection indication on standard Army maps.

The radar deliveries followed a compressed 18-month post-contract award schedule that included the successful completion of a rigorous battery of qualification tests of the radar as well as independent performance verification tests conducted by the Army’s Test and Evaluation Center at the Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz.

“STARLite passed customer-mandated reliability, operational and environmental qualification tests, including 1,200 hours of operational testing without a single hardware failure,” said Pat Newby, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s Land and Self Protection Systems Division. “The demonstrated high-reliability of STARLite will help ensure our warfighters have this significant improvement in surveillance capability readily available to them in theatre, when needed, in the war against terrorism.”

The AN/ZPY-1 leverages Northrop Grumman’s experience in creating the proven Tactical Endurance Synthetic Aperture Radar and the Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Radar.