Cassidian, the defence and security division of EADS, has developed a flexible airborne ground surveillance radar, which can be deployed on a variety of manned and unmanned platforms for the detection of ground and sea targets. As part of a major flight test series carried out from the German air base in Hohn, Cassidian’s SmartRadar showed record detection performance, now including various operating modes for maritime surveillance.

This success confirms Cassidian’s concept of a software-defined sensor, which can be used for different surveillance tasks while only requiring minor modifications. The use of a special modular architecture permits scalability of bandwidth, frequency band and processing performance. This signifies great progress compared to conventional radars, which are normally optimised for a specific task in a narrow frequency band. Rapid adaptation to new operational requirements through simple, configurable firmware and software together with a variable cooling design make SmartRadar suitable for a multitude of manned and unmanned platforms of different sizes.

The novel technological design in conjunction with the innovative and extremely powerful real-time modes has already undergone a variety of successful tests on behalf of the German procurement authority , the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). Most recently, outstanding reconnaissance results were obtained over land during two flight test series in the past year.

 The high performance of the radar is largely due to state-of-the-art Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) which uses a large number of transmitter and receiver modules in the antenna. These modules are developed and manufactured by Cassidian in its own facility, known as the ‘Microwave Factory’. Cassidian is the pioneer of this technology in Europe and delivers similar T/R modules for the TerraSAR earth observation satellite, the radar systems for the German Navy’s new F125-class frigates and the SPEXER 2000 border surveillance radar, amongst others.