General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has announced that it has validated the Maritime Wide Area Search (MWAS) mode for its Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator(SAR/GMTI) radar, which allows the sensor to detect and track small maritime vessels.
The new MWAS mode was successfully demonstrated at the US Fleet Forces Command’s Trident Warrior 2010 experiment held off the coast of Southern California in early June, and saw four flights involving small vessel detection and tracking tests. Through the dense cloud cover encountered during the morning flight tests, the Lynx radar was able to detect the small self propelled semi-submersible vessels successfully at stand-off range and provide accurate intercept vectors to other aircraft and sea-based vessels participating in the exercise. Successful demonstrations of the automatic cross-cuing function of the Lynx radar to the EO/IR camera were also conducted during the afternoon tests when the clouds had dispersed enough to make visual observation of the vessel possible.
The MWAS mode is now being integrated into the software baselines for Lynx radars deployed by US forces. The Lynx has been integrated into a number of manned and unmanned platforms, including the RQ-1 Predator, RQ-8A Fire Scout and RC-12 Guardrail.