Sandia National Laboratories
Synthetic Aperture Radar
Sandia National Laboratories Synthetic Aperture Radar Homepage

What is Synthetic Aperture Radar?

SAR Applications

Sandia SAR Capabilities

Sandia SAR Programs

SAR Imagery

SAR Movie Gallery

SAR Information Contacts

Sandia SAR Data Collection

Sandia DHC-6 Twin Otter

Sandia DHC-6 Twin-Otter synthetic aperture radar testbed

Sandia designed, developed, and now operates a state-of-the-art synthetic aperture radar installed in a DOE-owned DHC-6 Twin-Otter aircraft. The Twin Otter provides a low-cost testbed which is easily adaptable to varied applications. The SAR is a flexible, calibrated sensor which has been applied to a number of imaging problems of national importance. An identical copy of this SAR has been integrated for the DOE Office of Arms Control and Nonproliferation and has been installed in a pod on a Lockheed P-3A Orion aircraft.

The Twin Otter carries a complete data collection system including radar, GPS-aided inertial motion measurement system, fully gimbaled antenna, real-time image formation processor, high capacity data storage system, and optionally a real-time automatic target recognition processor.

Currently, Sandia is able to collect flight data over the following radar bands.

  • Ka (35 GHz)
  • Ku (15 GHz)
  • X (10 GHz)
  • VHF/UHF (125 MHz - 950 MHz)

Data collection capabilities include strip map, spotlight, and squint modes, all at a wide variety of elevation angles and other flight geometries.

For more information, please review "A High-Resolution, Four-Band SAR Testbed with Real-Time Image Formation." (Launches Adobe Acrobat)

AMPS Navy P-3A Orion

P-3A Orion with synthetic aperture radar pod

As a part of the Airborne Multisensor Pod System (AMPS) program, Sandia operates and maintains the SAR pod. The SAR operates in the Ku-band and is capable of 1 meter resolution. The pod is visible under the right wing (near the fuselage) of the aircraft.

Sandia Antenna Measurement Facility

Sandia synthetic aperture radar antenna measurement facility

Sandia also operates a precision radar antenna test and calibration range that doubles as a SAR / ISAR imaging instrument. The indoor facility allows detailed measurements of target cross sections and scattering properties.


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To send feedback or request information about the contents of Sandia National Laboratories' synthetic aperture radar website, please contact:

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