Thales develops AirMaster C radar for smaller aircraft

by Gareth Jennings

Thales has developed a new lightweight active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for use aboard smaller rotary- and fixed-wing manned and unmanned aircraft.

Already set to feature a number of technology ‘firsts’, the H160M helicopter is now to also incorporate the new AirMaster C AESA radar from Thales. (Airbus Helicopters)

Already set to feature a number of technology ‘firsts’, the H160M helicopter is now to also incorporate the new AirMaster C AESA radar from Thales. (Airbus Helicopters)

The Airmaster C, which was revealed by the company on 16 October, is billed as being an “ultra-compact” system that utilises the latest technology in order for it to be suitable to smaller platforms that previously could not generate the power and cooling levels needed for such a system.

“Thales has developed the AirMaster C, a new surveillance radar with an ultra-compact, programmable 2D active antenna based on SiGe (silicon-germanium) technology. SiGe is much more energy efficient than other technologies used for AESA radars, and allows the radar to self-cool. Weighing less than 20 kilograms and housed in a single unit design, the radar has a 30% lower SWaP (size, weight and power) than the other radars in this class,” Thales said. “In addition to this breakthrough SiGe technology, other innovations are deployed. Multi-polarisation (a capability displayed by many cameras) will allow the radar to automatically select the optimal settings to maximise detection performance on each mission. The radar also offers a simultaneous short-range and long-range detection capability, similar to the human eye, for instantaneous surveillance. With its 2D navigation and weather modes, the AirMaster C will also provide valuable navigation support in all types of environments and weather conditions.”

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Thales has developed a new lightweight active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for use aboa...

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