GLOBAL DEFENSE MARKET
Thales Eyes Military Customers for Radar
The I-MASTER radar — which can track targets on both land and sea — can be installed in light aircraft, drones or helicopters to recognize targets at long ranges. In its maritime mode, it can track up to 50 miles away, company executives noted during a recent interview. The land mode’s distance is proprietary.
While the system has yet to be sold to the U.S. military, company representatives were confident that they would soon see results.
Thales recently demonstrated the I-MASTER with the U.S. Army at Aberdeen Proving Ground and had a successful test, said Gregory Gudger, director of business development for the company’s ISR Systems Solutions division.
The system weighs about 66 pounds and can operate day or night and in all weather conditions, said Matt White, I-MASTER director of sales in the United States.
“This is a highly versatile radar that can be used on platforms that require multi-missions, so certainly the maritime missions are [gaining] a lot of interest from … the United States” as it shifts its focus to the expansive ocean regions of the Pacific, he said.
White noted that the I-MASTER offers military customers a commercial, off-the-shelf solution that is affordable.
“I-MASTER fits with the ‘do more with less’ philosophy that the DoD is undergoing right now, especially with the fiscal constraints that everyone is experiencing,” he said. “Because I-MASTER can fit on existing platforms with full-mission video mounts, this is a bolt-on, off-the-shelf solution.”
Because of its form factor, customers are able to rapidly install the system on aircraft. It is easy to maintain, he said, and it requires no major integration.
It is currently being deployed on aircraft as large as gunships and as small as unmanned systems that weigh less than 250 pounds, he said.
White noted that the radar is used as subsystem on a number of U.S. platforms that are sold overseas.