C4ISR

DARPA awards $2.6M contract to design ViSAR program

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded a contract of almost $2.6 million to design and build a video synthetic aperture radar system to improve U.S. aircraft performance in ground target maneuvering in cloud, dust and other obscurants. The contract was awarded to L-3 Communications in Arlington, Va., on July 8.

The ViSAR program will enable U.S. aircrafts to image, track, and target ground engagements as if they were operating in clear weather. It is expected to significantly increase the amount of time close air support is available and deny the adversary the protection that comes with cloudy weather conditions. The program includes development of flyable extremely high frequency band exciters and receivers, synthetic aperture radar scene simulation tools, and EHF-band SAR exploitation algorithms.

Close air support systems, such as the AC-130 gunship, traditionally use infrared targeting sensors, but they are unable to image through clouds and are limited to clear weather conditions. In certain regions of the world, cloud cover can exceed 50 percent. Additionally, once engagements commence, infrared sensors cannot operate through dust caused by explosions and incoming rounds.

L-3 Communications will develop flyable EHF band exciters and receivers, synthetic aperture radar scene simulation tools, and EHF-band SAR exploitation algorithms. 

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