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Synthetic Aperture Radar
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Sandia Synthetic Aperture Radar Programs

Sandia National Laboratories has designed, assembled and delivered many different synthetic aperture radar systems and components to a wide variety of customers. A few of the unclassified programs Sandia has participated in are listed below:

sar image bullet Miniaturized Synthetic Aperture Radar (MiniSAR) -- At any size/weight, the image quality and resolution demonstrated by Sandia SARs remains unequaled. MiniSAR fills a void in current remote sensing technology by providing unprecedented image quality and resolution while achieving a 4 to 5x reduction in size, weight and cost. MiniSAR will give even small UAVs the ability to see through smoke, dust, clouds, and heavy rain. Similarly, the miniSAR sensor will have broad application to all-weather, precision guided weapons. MiniSAR is an in-development program; the initial version will be flight tested in early 2005.
sar image bullet SAR Target Recognition and Location System (STARLOS) -- Real-time synthetic aperture radar image-formation and automatic target recognition of multiple and simultaneous targets; sponsored by the United States Army.
sar image bullet Airborne Multisensor Pod System (AMPS) -- Real-time high resolution 3-D synthetic aperture radar imagery for nonproliferation R&D; sponsored by the Department of Energy Office of Research and Development.
sar image bullet SAR for Open Skies (SAROS) -- Sponsored by DTRA to develop exportable, treaty-compliant (3-m resolution) SAR for Open Skies. Sandia developed the digital pre-processor to limit resolution, digital recording system, motion compensation software, radar control software and system integration. Two operational systems were delivered, plus one spare.
sar image bullet APS-137 B(V)5 -- United States Navy program to upgrade existing APS-137 radars on P-3 (and potentially S-3) aircraft to add high-resolution synthetic aperture radar. Contracted by Raytheon, Sandia developed the SAR system design, algorithms and software (motion measurement, SAR control and SAR image formation). Software was designed to Mil Std 498 and Sandia Preferred Processes for COTS Mercury i860 parallel processors.
sar image bullet Tier II+ -- DARPA-funded program to develop a High Altitude Endurance UAV with real-time SAR and MTI capabilities. Sandia National Laboratories was contracted by Raytheon to develop the SAR receiver, exciter, and direct digital synthesizer.
sar image bullet Moving and Stationary Target Acquisition & Recognition (MSTAR) -- Sandia National Laboratories collected a large data set of SAR target images for ATR algorithm development and other uses; sponsored by DARPA. For more information, please visit
sar image bullet Lynx SAR -- Designed and developed by Sandia National Laboratories for General Atomics, including the delivery of two operational prototypes. This radar provides unmatched performance for reconnaissance and surveillance in adverse weather conditions. The system is light enough to fit into small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The sensor offers one-foot to ten-foot resolution stripmap capability and spotlight resolutions of four inches to ten feet. Depending on weather conditions and imaging resolution, the sensor can operate at a maximum range of 25 to 85 kilometers. In addition to SAR, the Lynx radar includes GMTI and near-real-time coherent change detection capability. The radar is packaged in two subassemblies weighing less than 50 kg.
sar image bullet Rapid Terrain Visualization (RTV) -- Designed and developed by Sandia National Laboratories for for the Joint Precision Demonstration Project Office of the United States Army (Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors PEO). This radar provides the ability to generate highly accurate map products in real-time, including digital elevation models (DEMs), orthorectified SAR images, as well as a measure of the data quality. The DEMs can be produced according to the draft standards for DTED Level III or DTED Level IV, though RTV's accuracies exceed those standards. The system is capable of an absolute height accuracy of 1-meter LE90 (90% of the data within the map is within 3 feet of its true position), and the absolute ground position accuracy is 2-meters CE90 (90% of the data within the map are within a 6-foot radius circle in north/east of their true position).

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Lynx is a registered trademark of the General Atomics corporation.


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Matthew R. Lopez, Business Project Lead
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Sandia National Laboratories
Albuquerque, NM 87185-0519
845-2019 (Phone)
844-5924 (Fax)