The US Navy has successfully tested General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ (GA-ASI) Lynx multi-mode radar aboard the Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper surrogate (King Air 350 aircraft) during Exercise Spearhead II, held off the coast of Key West, Florida, US.
As part of the exercise, the system’s synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and maritime wide-area search (MWAS) modes were tested to detect mine-like-entities and tiny vessels including fast boats, sailboats, and fishing crafts.
The King Air 350’s on-board L-3 Mini-T data link system linked the Lynx and video data to the US Navy’s intelligence carry-on programme (ICOP) data link system, deployed on the joint high-speed vessel (JHSV).
GA-ASI Mission Systems executive vice-president Claudio Pereida said: "GA-ASI’s main goal in supporting this exercise was to provide the ICOP system on-board the JHSV and deliver near-real-time, all-weather, day/night Lynx radar and EO/IR (Electro-optical/Infrared) imagery on high-interest maritime targets.
"We achieved several historical firsts, with the MQ-9 surrogate providing the ICOP system with tactical Lynx Radar maritime data, demonstrating Reaper’s continued operational relevancy via new Lynx capabilities, and successfully leveraging Reaper in support of the Air-Sea Battle Concept."
The GA-ASI’s ClawA sensor payload operation software was successfully able to cross-cue the Lynx images to the EO/IR sensor for visual target recognition.
The US Navy also used the Lynx target information to cross-cue other platform sensors deployed in the Spearhead IIA.
GA-ASI is also planning to continue integration and assess coordination efforts to further boost surface vessels and shore C2 nodes receiving and conducting data exploitation capabilities of Lynx SAR and Moving Target Indicator (MTI) data.
The Lynx radar, which has been advanced to the two-channel Lynx Block 20A, can detect high-resolution video dismount and also offer a 30-degree-per-second scan rate with algorithms that can detect small vessels.
Lynx radars are also integrated with Lynx MWAS and dismount moving target indicator (DMTI) capabilities, together with a three times rise in the ground moving target indicator (GMTI) area coverage rate and a new SAR-aided alignment mode.
Directed by Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) through the US Fleet Forces Command, the JHSV Experiment Campaign plan was aimed at evaluating new missions that could be supported by the JHSV, with its main focus on options involving slight or no changes to the already deployed sea frame.
The plan will facilitate the development of JHSV’s Concept of Operations (CONOPs) in assessing the vessel’s support for other naval mission sets.