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Battlefield Surveillance Aircraft ASTOR

Description of the radar set, tactical-technical characteristics
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Figure 1: Bombardier's Global Express® fitted with the ASTOR radar system

frequency: X-Band
pulse repetition time (PRT):
pulse repetition frequency (PRF):
pulsewidth (τ):
receive time:
dead time:
peak power:
average power:
instrumented range: 250 … 300 km
range resolution: 1.18 m
hits per scan:
antenna rotation:

Battlefield Surveillance Aircraft ASTOR

The United Kingdom's ASTOR (Airborne Stand-Off Radar) program is a business-jet-based, ground-surveillance radar; this system employs a passive phased array design. The radar will be a SAR- MTI system based on the Hughes “Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar Type 23 (ASARS-2)” radar system, used on the US Air Force U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. Marconi Radar & Countermeasures systems will develop the new, larger 4.6 meter (15 foot) antenna for the ASTOR SAR system, with the antenna accommodated by a canoe fairing under the forward fuselage of the aircraft. “Raytheon” as the radars manufacturer has recognised the potential of Bombardier's Global Express® aircraft designed for long-range business use and special operations.

The ASTOR SAR will have a low-resolution wide-area swath mode, and a spot mode for high resolution imaging of specific targets. Best resolution in spot mode from operating altitude will be under 30 centimeters (1 foot). The antenna will be electrically steered, though it will have a narrow “blind spot” in front of and behind the aircraft. The ASTOR SAR system will have a maximum surveillance range of between 250 and 300 km. Although there has been talk of fitting electro-optical sensors as well, that is not part of current ASTOR plans.

The UK Ministry of Defense requires the ASTOR ground system to be modular, transportable and have the capacity for advanced SAR/MTI exploitation. Up to 8 ground stations receives all imagery data and analyses and distributes it in near-real time to UK and NATO secure systems.

Initial operational capability is expected in 2007, with the full fleet in operation in 2008.
The complete system will include five Sentinel R Mk I aircraft, each equipped with dual-mode (SAR and Moving Target Indicator) radar and operator workstations where the mission management and imagery can be exploited and then transmitted to the various brigade and divisional/joint level ASTOR ground stations by datalink.

The radar operates at high altitude and in all weathers to provide high resolution. ASARS-2 has been reported to provide images of the battlefield at ranges of 160 km, at altitudes up to 47,000 feet.

Sources: www.vectorsite.net www.global-defence.com