PARIS, 7 June 2013. The Thales I-Master radar system has completed flight trials onboard a Diamond DA42MPP Guardian aircraft. Conducted in partnership with Diamond Aircraft Industries and Diamond Airborne Sensing at its facility in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, the week-long trial covered different radar modes at a range of altitudes and speeds.
The demonstration included using the onboard payload to transmit full-resolution radar images and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) footage via a high-bandwidth line-of-sight data link to controllers at the ground station.
The DA42MPP NG, with its de-icing TKS protection, is all-weather capable, enabling flight operations to use the Thales I-Master radar to detect targets; these can then be identified by the EO/IR turret, which is also mounted on the platform, before the footage is sent back to headquarters via line-of-sight data link.
I-Master is an all-weather, lightweight payload that is easily installed in a standard, 15-inch gimbal outline. Its high-performance radar offers two modes: Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery.
GMTI is used to detect moving targets, from high-speed vehicles to targets moving at a walking pace. Its 360-degree capability can scan a wide area, such as deserts, savannah, borders, and road networks; its use over time can help to build situational awareness.
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 conditions or lack of light.
The Diamond DA42MPP (Multi-Purpose Platform) Guardian is a twin-engine aircraft designed for carrying interchangeable multifunction sensor equipment. The aircraft used during the I-Master trial was configured for an airborne mission capability of seven to nine hours with a two-man crew.
“I-Master delivers an advanced capability in a lightweight payload that is easy to install or swap between aircraft. It offers a complete solution for military, paramilitary, homeland security and border surveillance, pipeline security, and incident management,” says Eddie Awang, vice president of intelligence surveillance & reconnaissance at Thales UK.