The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded a contract to QinetiQ to demonstrate the advanced targeting capability offered by Electronically Scanned (E-Scan) radar technology.

QinetiQ has teamed with SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems and BAE Systems Customer Solutions & Support to integrate an Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) on a Tornado GR4A for assessment by the RAF in 2007.

With growing interest in extending the in-service life of the GR4, the project will explore the use of Active E-Scan Array (AESA) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in an air-to-surface role, including real-time target imaging, with a view to replacing the installed mechanically-scanned terrain following/ground mapping radar system originally designed in the 1970s.

"We anticipate that ARTS will offer considerable improvements in performance and significantly help reduce maintenance cost when compared with the current in-service solution," explained Andrew Sleigh, MD of QinetiQ's defence business. "By replacing the mechanically scanned antenna with an array made using discrete transmit/receive (T/R) modules we can achieve greater range and target resolution whilst at the same time benefiting from an inherently more robust design."

According to QinetiQ, ARTS benefits from a range of Ministry of Defence and


industry funded research programmes in the fields of AESA and SAR technologies, and will provide a continuing route for the rapid exploitation of future research and development.