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DARPA Tests Cloud-Penetrating Radar Tech on Modified DC-3 Aircraft

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has tested an electro-optical and infrared sensor onboard a modified DC-3 aircraft to demonstrate its capacity to collect real-time video through the clouds.

DARPA said Thursday it aims to produce a cloud-penetrating extremely high frequency sensor that can be integrated with multiple aerial platforms as part of the Video Synthetic Aperture Radar program.

“The recent flight tests of the ViSAR sensor marked a major program milestone toward our goal, proving that we can take uninterrupted live video of targets on the ground even when flying through or above clouds,” said Bruce Wallace, program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office.

“The EO/IR sensors on board the test aircraft went blank whenever clouds obscured the view, but the synthetic aperture radar tracked ground objects continuously throughout the flight.”

The next phase of the ViSAR program will look to merge the radar into an aircraft equipped with a complete battle management system and real-time target engagement capacity.

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