EADS Defence Electronics has started contract negotiations with Germany's defence procurement agency BWB on a launch order for the MiSAR mini synthetic aperture radar (SAR).

The sensor is to be fitted to German Army EMT Luna tactical UAVs already operating in Afghanistan. The army wants to field SAR to overcome problems with haze and dust obscuring the Luna's electro-optic sensor suite.

Alexander Wergin, EADS Defence SAR marketing and sales manager, says the deal will be based on a revised configuration radar incorporating ground-moving target indication capability. It has a revised antenna, replacing the "under and over" twin horn system used in the original demonstrator, with a side by side wideband array and a new radome. It made its debut flight on a Luna test aircraft in Germany last month.

Speaking at the Bristol International UAV conference in the UK last week, Wergin said the MTI mode is based on a snapshot imaging technique where repeat overlapping radar images are captured and compared to identify moving objects. EADS has been working on MTI modes for the radar since early 2005. The revised radar configuration is based on lessons from flight trials of three prototype systems from 2003.

Wergin says the operational Luna integration will use a sideways-looking mount, but future options could include a fully rotating mount with modified processing to allow for coverage of a wider ground footprint. The processing changes would include development of a display capable of compensating for loss of image when the radar antenna is aligned with the UAV's forward axis of motion, says Wergin.

EADS started work on two production standard radars in 2005. The revised configuration to be supplied to the German Army was frozen last year.

Source: Flight International