TRACER Radar Completes Flight Tests

By Tish Drake | April 20, 2011

Lockheed Martin's Tactical Reconnaissance and Counter-Concealment-Enabled Radar, TRACER, has completed flight testing aboard a Predator B MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial System, the company announced Wednesday.

TRACER is a dual-band (UHF and VHF) synthetic-aperture radar capable of detecting and geo-locating objects that are buried, camouflaged or concealed under foliage, according to Lockheed Martin. It processes images in real time, and can immediately down-link captured images to multiple ground stations. Prior to the MQ-9 UAS flight testing, TRACER had successfully completed 100 test flights on manned platforms.

"TRACER has demonstrated its long endurance, wide-area surveillance capability to detect targets in all operational environments - in any type of weather, day and night," said Jim Quinn, vice president of C4ISR Systems with Lockheed Martin's IS&GS-Defense. "TRACER will provide commanders with intelligence not currently available from higher frequency radars or electro-optical systems."

Over the course of the four-month testing, Lockheed Martin said the TRACER team validated the radar's performance in the harsh environment of an UAS configuration, thus mitigating risk for eventual installation on a tier IV UAS or other platforms, such as the YMQ-18Aunmanned aerial helicopter. During the tests the team also demonstrated satellite data link control of both the vehicle and radar system.

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