02 Jun 05. After three years of intensive design and development SOSTAR-X is now entering its final phase of mission system integration. SOSTAR GmbH announced today the successful tests of the active array antenna panels. All these panels have now been integrated into the antenna structure, forming the Radiating Unit which is currently undergoing final tests at Thales facilities in Elancourt, France. The scalable AESA (active electronically scanned array) antenna with a length of roughly 2.5 meters forms the heart of the SOSTAR-X radar sensor. The sensor will be capable of the collection of MTI data, the tracking of targets and delivering spot SAR images of sub-meter resolution from distances far beyond150 km. These modes of operation can be engaged simultaneously.
SOSTAR GmbH is a Joint Venture Company between Dutch Space, EADS, Galileo Avionica, Indra Sistemas, and Thales. The company was founded in 2001 to perform the SOSTAR-X Programme (Stand-Off Surveillance and Target Acquisition Radar Demonstrator). The SOSTAR-X Programme is to demonstrate by 2007 an advanced ground surveillance radar with AESA antenna that meets the majority of the NATO AGS staff requirements. The program is being performed under an R&D contract awarded under a government MoU between France, Germany, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands.
A first major integration milestone was reached in April 2005 when the integration of the first prime items Core Electronics and Operations &
Control passed the acceptance test at the EADS facilities in Friedrichshafen, Germany. At the same time, the Radar Processor Integration was started at Galileo Avionica in Milan, Italy. Radar Software Modules from all five SOSTAR partners and the research establishments FGAN/Germany and TNO/The Netherlands are being integrated into a common computer architecture. This ambitious architecture enables real time processing and simultaneous radar modes.
The company and customer flight demonstrations will be conducted on a
Fokker 100 test bed aircraft. The modification of the aircraft is being performed by Fokker Services since the end of 2004. There will be a Final
Design Review at the end of May 2005, following which the cooling system, power supply and data link airborne terminal will be integrated. At the same time structural reinforcements will be made and flight tests with the radome will be performed.
After final ground integration at the EADS facilities in Friedrichshafen in the autumn of 2005, the complete mission system will be installed onto the platform at Fokker Services facilities in Woensdrecht, The Netherlands. This will pave the way for completion of the Post Test Review and the Certification Flights allowing the SOSTAR Partners to complete these two major project milestones before the end of 2005.
2006 will be fully devoted to company flight tests which will be conducted in France, Germany and The Netherlands. At the beginning of 2007, SX will prove the contractual performance in a customer flight campaign. An operational demonstration with a live military scenario will reveal to a selected audience the capabilities of the SOSTARX system. This system must be considered to be the best performing – though not operational – European ISR aircraft ever. The demonstration will feature capabilities like Wide Area GMTI Scanning and Tracking of Ground Movers and Helicopters, High Resolution SAR Spotlight and SAR Swath Imaging. Target Classification by Spectral Classification, High Range Resolution Length Measurements and Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging of Moving Ground Targets will also be presented. Most of the mission and sensor planning will occur on-board by means of two operations & control stations. A wide-band data link will allow imagery to be down linked in real time to a German and a French Ground Station for further analysis.