December 7, 2006 Lockheed Martin recently accomplished a first for unmanned aerial systems (UAS), demonstrating that high-resolution, broad-area imaging from a Miniaturized Synthetic Aperture Radar (MiniSAR) could effectively be delivered by a UAS into the hands of tactical unit commanders, regardless of smoke, dust, heavy rain or night-time conditions. During a successful field exercise at the Minnesota National Guard test facility on October 19, a small SkySpirit UAS carrying a Sandia-developed MiniSAR sensor soared to nearly 3,000 feet and, in near real-time, became the first UAS to successfully transmit four-inch resolution SAR imagery. During four different mission demonstrations, the SkySpirit transmitted MiniSAR images capturing actionable data in two operational modes: focused area circle-mapping and broad area strip-mapping. Multiple imaging passes were post-processed to demonstrate coherent change detection used to identify changes over time.
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