"The recent flight tests of the ViSAR sensor marked a major program milestone toward our goal, proving that we can take uninterrupted live video of targets on the ground even when flying through or above clouds," said Bruce Wallace, program manager in DARPA

New Radar Tests Successful, DARPA Announces

"The recent flight tests of the ViSAR sensor marked a major program milestone toward our goal, proving that we can take uninterrupted live video of targets on the ground even when flying through or above clouds," said Bruce Wallace, program manager in DARPA's Strategic Technology Office.

DARPA announced Sept. 28 that its Video Synthetic Aperture Radar (ViSAR) program recently completed flight tests and successfully demonstrated a new sensor that can capture real-time video through clouds.

The program began in 2013 and has been developing an Extremely High Frequency targeting sensor to operate through clouds as effectively as current electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) sensors operate in clear weather. According to the agency, the program aims to develop a cloud-penetrating EHF sensor in a moveable gimbal that could be mounted on a variety of aerial platforms to provide high-resolution, full-motion video for engaging moving ground targets in all weather conditions.

"The recent flight tests of the ViSAR sensor marked a major program milestone toward our goal, proving that we can take uninterrupted live video of targets on the ground even when flying through or above clouds," said Bruce Wallace, program manager in DARPA's Strategic Technology Office. "The EO/IR sensors on board the test aircraft went blank whenever clouds obscured the view, but the synthetic aperture radar tracked ground objects continuously throughout the flight."

In the DARPA news release, Wallace said there has not been a synthetic aperture sensor that can fit in a standard EO/IR sensor gimbal on aircraft and maintain frame rates fast enough to track maneuvering targets on the ground. "Refining the ViSAR sensor's visualization software to provide operators a representation they're used to seeing is the next step in the program," he said. "We don't want operators in the back of an aircraft to need special radar training to interpret the sensor's data; we are working to make the visual interface as easy to interpret as existing EO/IR sensor displays."

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