Success Story

Specialized Radar Systems Benefit Warfighters and Save Lives

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) radar can make detailed, high resolution, photograph-like images of the ground from an aircraft, night or day, even in foggy, cloudy, or hazy conditions. The U.S. Air Force and other branches of the military use GA-ASI’s Lynx® Multi-mode Radar systems. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection also operates a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), most of which are equipped with Lynx systems.

Sandia National Laboratories and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of privately held General Atomics, are working together to deploy SAR systems for the U.S. military and other customers. This partnership has resulted in immeasurable benefits to our warfighters, created jobs for the U.S., and spurred other technical advancements through an ongoing Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA).

General Atomics began marketing and producing the Lynx radar in 1999, and since then numerous improvements and new features have been implemented. Today, the radars are built by the GA-ASI Reconnaissance Systems Group. Radar engineering, production, and business activities support nearly 700 employees in Rancho Bernardo, Calif., and at several other sites.

Through the CRADA, Sandia continues to support GA-ASI with development of new modes, features, and enhancements for existing radar systems. In addition, Sandia assists with development testing and validation. The technological advances resulting from the creation of enhanced features and new products at GA-ASI flow back to Sandia, benefitting other Sandia partners.

In 2012 Sandia and GA-ASI assisted with a successful demonstration of additional features of the Maritime Wide Area Search (MWAS) mode of the Lynx Radar. During Navy exercises off the coast of Southern California, the system showed the ability to support anti-piracy and counter-narcotics missions by detecting hard-to-find targets and relaying their imagery with metadata back to Navy commanders for dissemination and action.

The long-term relationship between Sandia and GA-ASI benefits both partners. Sandia’s expertise and intellectual property enhances GA-ASI’s position as a world leader in radar systems. Sandia gains financial support through the CRADA, which funds research and development efforts, and its engineers gain valuable real-world information and can share research discoveries through publication