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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):
receiving 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 recognized the potential of Bombardier’s Global Express aircraft designed for long-range business use and special operations.

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.

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 is electrically steered, though it has a narrow “blind spot” in front of and behind the aircraft.

ASTOR entered service with the RAF in December 2008. The aircraft fitted with this radar were decommissioned by 2021 at the latest.