ASGARD project: France and Germany develop an advanced aerial surveillance radar demonstrator

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Today, in the world of military aviation, there is no shortage of Franco-German projects. In addition to the creation of a bilateral squadron equipped with C-130J Super Hercules or the design of the FCAS (future air combat system), Paris and Berlin are also joining forces for the design and development in the coming years of a radar specialized in airborne aerial surveillance.

Indeed, at the end of June 2019, a Franco-German team met at Cazaux air base 120 as part of the ASGARD project, for Advanced Surveillance next Generation Airborne Radar Demonstrator. ), which aims to develop a European radar demonstrator.

According to our information, this radar demonstrator must contain three key characteristics. The first is that of modularity. It is planned to implement this new technology on antennas of different sizes and capable of being implemented by “remote carriers” (hybrid aircraft halfway between a drone and a missile) or larger aircraft, from fighter to early warning aircraft. To enable this, at this stage of the program's progress, two antennas are planned for the demonstrator, one of 1 meter and a second of 2,5 meters.

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The second characteristic is that of bistatism. With this in mind, two separate carriers will have a transmitting antenna for one and a receiving antenna for the other. This should in particular make it possible to improve the detection of both stealthy or very small targets (drones, “remote carriers”, missiles, etc.). As part of the development and testing of this capability, France and the Directorate General of Armaments, with the ABE NG (new generation test bench aircraft), a Fokker 100, will test in flight the largest of the two antennas.

Finally, the third and last characteristic is that of synchronization. The radar demonstrator will be equipped with an atomic clock which should allow “the correct dating of the information transmitted between the transmitting and receiving antennas” while avoiding GPS as much as possible. This notion is particularly important today in a context where armed forces are increasingly confronted with denial of access and jamming of their GPS systems by opposing forces, whether in theaters of operations or even during major international exercises (“Trident Juncture 18”, for example).

In France, this project brings together THALES DMS (Defense Mission Systems) and the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) with numerous centers of expertise and testing including the Future Systems Preparation and Architecture Service (SPSA) , the Mission and Support Aircraft Management Unit (UM AMS) as well as the DGA Project Engineering (IP), Flight Tests (EV) and Information Management (MI). Across the border, Germany contributes its expertise with the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw), the company Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (IABG) specialized in analysis and test engineering as well as HENSOLDT, a company specializing in military electronics.

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After this first meeting in France, a second must be held in Germany in September 2019. It should make it possible to finalize the main documents of this ASGARD project in order to then launch the development and experiments of this new technology.

Loïc Lauze
Aeronautical specialist France

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