Penetrating radar ready for deployment

April 20, 2011 at 11:24 AM

NASHVILLE, April 20 (UPI) -- A penetrating radar developed for the U.S. Army to detect concealed objects has completed flight testing and is ready for deployment.

Tests of the Tactical Reconnaissance and Counter-Concealment-Enabled Radar -- Tracer -- were conducted aboard a Predator B MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle following testing aboard manned aircraft, system manufacturer Lockheed Martin said.

"Tracer has demonstrated its long-endurance, wide-area surveillance capability to detect targets in all operational environments -- in any type of weather, day and night," said Jim Quinn, vice president of C4ISR Systems with Lockheed Martin's IS&GS-Defense. "Tracer will provide commanders with intelligence not currently available from higher frequency radars or electro-optical systems."

Tracer is a dual-band synthetic-aperture radar capable of detecting and locating objects that are buried, camouflaged or concealed under foliage. Classified as a queuing sensor, Tracer processes images in real time and can immediately send images to multiple ground stations.

During flight tests aboard the Predator B MQ-9, Tracer was focused on identifying targets of interest that would be relevant to multiple theaters.

Lockheed said that over four months the Tracer team validated the radar's performance in the harsh environment of an UAS configuration, thus mitigating risk for eventual installation on a Tier IV UAS or other platforms, such as the YMQ-18A unmanned aerial helicopter.

The test team also demonstrated satellite data link control of both the vehicle and radar system.

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