January 13, 2006 The flight test programme for the U.K. Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) programme is progressing well in the U.S. and the U.K. As of December, 2005, a/c #1 (based in Greenville, Texas) was well into its series of check flights while, in the U.K., a/c #2 had completed its first phase of flight testing. According to the test team, the DMR in a/c #1 was producing good quality imagery on only its second operational check flight. ASTOR is a ground surveillance system designed to provide information regarding the deployment and movement of enemy forces. It uses state-of-the-art radar technology to obtain high resolution imagery of static features and can also identify and track moving vehicles. Imagery gathered is transmitted in near-real-time to a network of distributed Ground Stations deployed with front-line forces. Images can be displayed and analysed within the Ground Stations, ensuring that tactical commanders are aware of the latest developments on the ground. ASTOR will be a brand new capability for the UK Armed Forces and the most advanced system of its kind, anywhere in the world, when it enters service. It will be a vital force multiplier in the modern conflict where speed of battle is such that up-to-date information is crucial if troops are to be deployed effectively.
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