Total Aircraft Services (TAS) is completing the installation of a novel synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system on a Gulfstream II, which will be available for land use research and environmental resource management from late 1999.

The TAS aircraft, expected to undergo initial test flights by the end of this month, is being modified at the company's Van Nuys site in California. The Geographic SAR (GeoSAR) airborne radar system is being developed by Calgis - a California-based geographic mapping company - the California Department of Conservation and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), with funding from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

TAS, a corporate aircraft modifications specialist, is installing the UHF (P-band) SAR antennas in wingtip pods and high frequency (X-band) antennas on the underside of the wing. The JPL-developed GeoSAR is thought to be unique in combining P- and X-band images to create a three-dimensional image of the earth's surface. The system works by processing and merging the images, which "-can be used for viticulture- and providing warning of areas prone to flash flooding".

Following baseline data collecting flights in December, the GeoSAR-equipped GII is expected to make test flights with the fully functioning radar system during January 1999. The company expects to obtain a supplemental type certificate in March.

Source: Flight International