EMBARGOED FOR WEB UNTIL 0600 LONDON TIME TUESDAY, CAN GO IN TUESDAY’S PRINTED SHOW DAILY -- After a protracted protest from losing contractor Northrop Grumman, Raytheon has finally restarted work for the U.S. Air Force on a radar designed to find and track individuals on the ground.

The company, thought to be a dark horse, had previously won the contract, but work halted after Northrop Grumman, which builds the Vader radar optimized for the same mission, launched a protest. Northrop Grumman had built Vader under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract with potential integration on the Reaper, but the order never materialized.

Northrop’s protest was denied by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, clearing the path for Raytheon to continue work.

The delivery of four podded radars should be complete in 2015, says Travis Slocomb, strategy and business development vice president at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems.

The sensors will be mounted under the wings of the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft.

Commanders in Afghanistan have pushed the Pentagon to field so-called “dismount detection radars” (DDRs) designed to track people or vehicles on the ground as quickly as possible. These are needed to follow high value targets or individuals thought to be involved in insurgent or terrorist networks there.

One of the strengths of Raytheon’s DDR design is its scalability, Slocomb says, adding that the design can be sized depending on missions, which could include sea surface target detection and tracking.