Thales's I-Master radar system has successfully completed flight trials on board a Diamond DA42 MPP Guardian multi-mission piston-twin.

The week-long evaluation - conducted in partnership with Diamond Aircraft and sister company Diamond Airborne Sensing from Wiener Neustadt in Austria - covered different radar modes at a range of altitudes and speeds. During the demonstration, full-resolution radar images and electro-optical/infrared footage was transmitted via a high-bandwidth line-of-sight datalink to controllers at the ground station.

 DA42 I-Master - Thales


"I-Master is an all-weather, lightweight payload that is easily installed in a standard 15in [38cm] gimbal outline. Its high-performance radar offers two modes: ground moving target indication (GMTI) and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery," says Diamond.

GMTI is used to detect moving targets - from high-speed vehicles to targets moving at walking pace. "Its 360˚ capability can scan a wide area, such as deserts, savannah, borders and road networks, and its use over time can help to build a 'pattern-of-life' situation awareness," Diamond and Thales say in a joint statement.

 DA42 I-Master flight - Thales


SAR is used for long-range stand-off image collection - both high-resolution spotlight pictures and extended "strip maps". It is deployed as an alternative to gathering images by camera; its long range enables aircraft to avoid dangerous situations, and it is unaffected by severe weather or lack of light.

The I-Master payload has previously been ordered for integration with the British Army's Thales UK/Elbit Systems Watchkeeper tactical unmanned air vehicles.

Source: Flight International