Light-weight ground-surveillance radar

I-MASTER is Thales' new lightweight high performance combined Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI). I-MASTER weighs only 30kg, and provides the perfect balance of capability, cost, weight and power consumption for use onboard a wide range of unmanned air vehicles (UAV), helicopters, small fixed wing aircraft and tilt rotor platforms.

High performance imaging radars are now essential in any programme that requires an all weather ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) capability. To date, high quality SAR/GMTI radars have been too heavy and costly for tactical UAVs or small manned aircraft.

The low weight of I-MASTER means that a combined SAR/GMTI capability can be added to tactical UAVs either in addition to or instead of electro-optic (E/O) sensors. I-MASTER is also designed to fit existing E/O payload mountings. On smaller air vehicles, which are able to carry just one payload, this unique feature enables the sensor to be exchanged within a few minutes. This capability will allow the platform's role to be quickly adapted as the mission tempo and the environment changes. For larger air vehicles, able to carry more than one payload, collaborative targeting using both SAR/GMTI and EO packages greatly increases the options available to the field commander.

I-MASTER builds upon Thales' radar expertise that exists in depth in both the UK and France. This expertise has made it possible for Thales to develop a SAR/GMTI radar sensor that not only delivers high performance but also sufficiently light and inexpensive to be fitted to Tactical UAVs. I-MASTER provides an all-weather capability, which dramatically increases Tactical UAV mission effectiveness. High quality imaging is now possible in hostile environments such as cloud and smoke. The ability to image at long stand-off ranges improves UAV survivability by distancing the air vehicle from potential ground fire.

I-MASTER incorporates a high performance Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) able to detect both vehicle and infantry movements at ranges up to 20km. Very low speed targets can be detected through the use of multi-channel processing.

With 360-degree coverage and an innovative stabilised antenna, I-MASTER provides high quality images over a wide area from small air vehicles in a wide range of flight conditions.

Key features

  • High-fidelity, 360° all-weather, day/night surveillance
  • Ground moving target indication (GMTI) & synthetic aperture radar (SAR) modes
  • Compact, single line replacement unit – interchangeable with electro optic/infrared turret sensors
  • Ideal for rotary, fixed-wing, manned and unmanned platforms
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