Pathfinder Airborne ISR Systems

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Program Achievements


Sandia has developed several impactful system solutions in the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) program. A selection of its achievements is listed below.


First vertical Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) (also known as a precision directional altimeter)


First real-time 1-meter resolution strip mapping Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)


First use of phase gradient autofocus in a real-time Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) (revolutionized image quality and is now commonly used in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) systems)

First near-real-time aided target recognition system with Tera-OP (1 trillion operations) computational throughput provided in partnership with DARPA

First real-time 1-foot resolution strip mapping Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)


First 100-pound real-time processed Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR) deployed operationally


First real-time digital terrain-elevation mapping done at Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED) Level 4/5 with a Ku-band Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR)


First real-time, <6 inch resolution, sub 30lbs Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to fly on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)


First real-time, fine resolution, imaging of Antarctic crevasses using miniature Synthetic Aperture (SAR) systems


First real-time, <6 inch resolution, strip mapping coherent change detection Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)


First ever non-beta-zero bistatic radar images of the moon, mapping about two-thirds of the lunar surface from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) with the Mini-RF; also the first conversion of an orbiting Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to a spacecraft uplink and downlink communications system, able to transmit and receive modulated signals from Earth, a technology that could allow future missions to save mass and power


First 60-pound, real-time processed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) deployed for Counter-IED (C-IED) missions

First real-time processed VideoSAR operationally deployed system


First demonstration of Velocity Independent Continuous Tracking Radar (VICTR) allowing the ability to persistently track targets through all phases of motion using VideoSAR and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI)


First real-time processed VideoCCD operationally deployed system