UAV Recce Payload (Thales/Astrium / Europe)
In 2004 Thales introduced a new SAR system named I-Master, designed specifically for UAV platforms. I-Master provides cover of a wide area (2000 km2/hr) and is able to support intelligence gathering and targeting of time sensitive targets under adverse weather conditions including dense clouds, smoke and sand storms. The radar supports target classification and accurate location. I-Master supports STRIP and SPOT and MTI modes. All signal processing is performed on-board, while the resulting images are transmitted to the ground station for further exploitation and analysis. The payload is designed as a single LRU unit, compatible with physical and electronic attachments of common EO payloads, thus having minimum impact on UAV logistics and operation. When used together with EO sensors, SAR can fill the “shadows” and “dead zones” in terrain normally experienced with high value standoff systems.