Mercury Systems, Inc. introduced the first commercially available flight testing simulator for air-to-ground synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems. The ARES-SAR product builds on more than 25 years of test and train technology from the Mercury Processing Platform to enable government and commercial organizations to save time and costs by reducing the need for actual flight testing by simulating realistic SAR scenarios on the ground.
SAR systems have become integral for crewed and uncrewed airborne and space-based systems. These systems allow pilots of fifth-generation fighter jets to navigate safely, target munitions, and perform battle damage assessments in all weather conditions, day or night. They allow satellites to conduct environmental monitoring, mapping, and surveillance missions. A significant portion of the time and cost of developing these systems is consumed by real-world testing, which today can cost millions of dollars and require many flight tests over months or years.
ARES-SAR builds on Mercury’s heritage of digital R.F. memory (DRFM)-based electronic warfare training, test, and evaluation solutions. In 2020, the company introduced ARES3100, an advanced radar environment simulator for testing and training air-to-air radar capabilities in a laboratory environment or an anechoic chamber.
ARES-SAR can be employed by itself or alongside ARES3100, as both use Mercury’s software interface that makes it easy to quickly configure multiple test scenarios, including various geographies, imaging modes, targets, environmental effects, and countermeasures. Development of ARES-SAR was funded by the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation, and the product is in use by several Air Force and Navy customers.
“To ensure technological superiority on the battlefield, organizations responsible for fielding air and space systems must develop and deploy advanced capabilities in a more timely and cost-effective way,” said Roya Montakhab, Mercury’s G.M. of Platform Systems. “ARES-SAR allows radar systems to undergo robust qualification programs without ever leaving the ground.”