MiniSAR – Tactical UAV SAR Payload (Sandia Labs / USA)
Sandia National Labs, the developers of the Lynx SAR system, are developing a smaller version of a Ku band SAR, which will maintains the Lynx’s performance in a much smaller package. MiniSAR weighs 25 lbs, (future production versions could be downsized to 18 lbs) and fit tactical UAVs such as the RQ-7A Shadow. The whole assembly is packed into two 7″ and 10″ cubes. The radar will operate initially in the 16.7 GHz frequency and will be extensible to X or Ka bands in the future. It is designed for affordability, and expected to cost 1/3 of the cost of a contemporary SAR. MiniSAR offers the basic SPOT mode with 4″ resolution, and with future enhancements, will also enable StripMap, Stereo-SAR, GMTI and CCD. When deployed on medium-sized UAVs, MiniSAR will be able to interface with other sensors to enable on-board multi-sensor fusion. Due to its small dimensions, particularly the size of the antenna, the range of MiniSAR is limited to 15km (4″ resolution). When lower resolution is acceptable, the system can generate a 12″ resolution image of an area from 23km. An even smaller antenna can provide a 4″ resolution image from a range of 5 kilometers.