Boeing, Insitu and miniature synthetic aperture radar developer ImSAR have demonstrated the real-time processing of SAR data aboard a Scan Eagle unmanned air vehicle during flight.

The Scan Eagle, a joint effort between Boeing Advanced Systems' Advanced Precision Engagement and Mobility Systems and Insitu, used ImSAR's NanoSAR while flying over a variety of targets, with real-time processing demonstrated by streaming radar images to a ground station.

The NanoSAR is only 0.9kg (2lb) in mass, while standard SAR payloads can weigh more than 23kg. The Scan Eagle also carried an electro-optical sensor for the trial, and in service the two payloads would work together to provide all-weather reconnaissance by day or night.

"We expect to continue to mature this product in the coming months, and hope to begin talking with potential customers in the near future. This capability builds on our previous flight tests with the NanoSAR payload," Boeing's Scan Eagle chief engineer Carol Wilke said during the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International North America 2008 convention in San Diego, California.

Creating real-time images on board Scan Eagle eliminates the need for using high-speed datalinks to a ground station, according to Boeing.

Source: Flight International