General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has developed a simulator for operators controlling Lynx Multi-mode Radars on unmanned and manned aircraft.
The Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Simulator (TARS) is software that can run on a laptop.
“TARS is unique because it is highly transportable but still replicates the actions that a sensor operator would take inside of a ground control station [for UAVs] or manned aircraft,” said General Atomics spokeswoman Kimberly Kasitz.
TARS is designed to train Lynx operators in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and ground moving target indicator (GMTI) operations. The software combines synthetic electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) video, satellite imagery and 3-D models to create simulated SAR imagery.
“Its key feature is the ability to mission plan for a difficult target area, and then run that plan and see how the aircraft and sensors respond,” Kasitz said. “Feedback is seen immediately by how well the simulated SAR imagery covers the training target.”
Additionally, “the student can cross-cue from a point of interest on the ground identified by SAR to the EO/IR camera, which also displays simulated full-motion video,” he said. “TARS also can simulate GMTI and utilizes actual moving targets such as trucks and tanks.”
TARS was developed by General Atomics to meet the company’s internal training requirements (the Lynx radar is also made by General Atomics), but it also is suitable for military schoolhouses. Kasitz said there have been no orders yet for it, but there has been interest by both U.S. and foreign customers.
The Lynx radar is used by the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Department of Homeland Security; the U.K. Royal Air Force; the Italian Air Force; and the Iraqi Air Force. It equips the MQ-9 Reaper, I-GNAT ER/Sky Warrior Alpha and MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft, which are manufactured by General Atomics, and the King Air 200, King Air 350ER, DH-6 Twin Otter, and C-130 manned aircraft.