Air International 1994-12
A.Wooley - SAR - Eyes of the Battlefield
One of the functions of the Westinghouse AN/APQ-164 radar system, carried by the Rockwell B-1B Lancer, is high-resolution strip or ground-mapping. This SAR mode provides high resolution data to aid navigation, of particular value during the final attack phase.
The Australian Defence Science & Technology Organisation is currently developing a SAR, designated Ingara. Flight tests are being carried out with an installation under the fuselage of RAAF C-47 Dakota A65-86 of 'E' Flight, Aircraft Research & Development Unit.
Thomson-CSF SLAR 2000 pod mounted under a Dassault Mirage F1-CR. This system has been in operational service with the Armee de l’Air for five years and was used extensively for overflight reconnaissance missions during the Gulf War.
The US Navy’s Lockheed P-3C Orion fleet is equipped with the Texas Instruments AN/APS-137 ISAR multi-mode surveillance radar that can also be used for over-the-horizon targeting.
The Defence Research Agency is carrying out trials, for the UK's ASTOR programme, with a SAR system installed in EE Canberra B(I).8 WT327. Its transmitter is based on the Searchwater maritime surveillance radar, although a new antenna was installed to improve performance and provide moving target detection.
Close-up of the modified bomb bay of Canberra B(I).8 WT327 which houses the SAR equipment.
Allied forces in the Gulf War were alerted to possible enemy ground attacks by French 6th Light Armoured Division Super Puma Mk 2s equipped with the demonstrator Orchidee airborne radar. As a result of the success of this battlefield surveillance and target designation radar, the French Army intends to deploy a version known as Horizon, in the latter half of the 1990s. Whilst not a SAR system, it typifies the great need for high resolution radar systems in a modern battlefield scenario.
Gulfstream III, F-249, has been provided by the Royal Danish Air Force for flight testing a C-Band SAR under development by the Electromagnetic Institute of the Technical University of Denmark. Intended uses focus on continued university research, map-making, European Community surveys, and possible Open Skies co-operation activities.
Taken out of development trials and rushed into service during Operation Desert Storm, the Boeing/Grumman E-8A J-STARS provided ground and air commanders with a wealth of material on surface targets. It was particularly valuable in locating and tracking Iraqi Scud missiles.
Canada is carrying out exploratory development of the AN/APS-116 search radar fitted to its CP-140 Aurora fleet. A model, to investigate the system's SAR mode is currently installed in the nose of Convair 580 C-FNRC, which is operated by the Canadian National Research Council.
An ASARS-2 equipped U-2 of the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron, 17th Reconnaissance Wing being prepared for flight at RAF Alconbury, Cambridgeshire. U-2/TR-1s flew some 5,000 hours during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, pinpointing 90% of all the mobile targets. The Hughes ASARS-2 is a synthetic aperture radar, located in the nose of the aircraft and capable of producing radar maps which are virtually indistinguishable from photographs.