DARPA launches ASTIR program to develop advanced imaging radar using electronic sub-reflectors

ARLINGTON, Va., 7 Aug. 2014. U.S. military researchers are asking industry to design a new kind of imaging radar that relies on electronic sub-reflector designs, rather than on a moving platform or target, to perform scanning.

This advanced radar must provide high frame-rate, three-dimensional imaging of objects through adverse obscurants like fog, smoke, and heavy rain, and efficient beam steering and radar imaging.

Officials of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., released a solicitation this week (DARPA-BAA-14-53) for the Advanced Scanning Technology for Imaging Radars (ASTIR) program that seeks to design a cost-effective imaging radar system with similar performance to synthetic aperture radar (SAR).

DARPA experts will brief industry on the ASTIR program's technical details and goals from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on 18 Aug. 2014 at the DARPA Conference Center, Room 01-200, 675 N. Randolph St., in Arlington Va.

Related: DARPA to brief industry on through-clouds radar with imaging capability to match infrared

ASTIR technology will use one transmit and receive chain and electronic sub-reflector designs that produce a readily available, cost-effective sensor that does not require platform or target motion as in SAR or ISAR, DARPA officials say.

The ASTIR concept will minimize system complexity by using a compound antenna with an electronic sub-reflector that works together with a large primary aperture that would define the angular resolution of the radar.

Ways to do this could include replacing an electromechanically displaced mirror, as currently used in some imaging radars, with a planar electronically reflecting surface for beam steering; using phase-shifters on the sub-reflector to steer a small spot across the main reflector; or digitally modulating each element on the sub-reflector with an orthogonal phase code.

The ASTIR program's goal is to provide high-resolution 3D imaging for enhanced identification and targeting, independent of platform or target motion; well-focused images at speeds faster than 10 frames per second, even when there is no platform or target motion; and beam steering with one transmit and receive chain to reduce system complexity.

Related: Princeton Lightwave to develop military laser radar target imaging in DARPA LRT contract

This solicitation focuses on an electronic sub-reflector for use with a larger aperture to generate 3D images of stationary and moving objects. A government team, meanwhile, will identify potential military applications of this technology.

In 2016 DARPA officials say they will issue another industry solicitation to build prototype imaging radar systems that use the electronic sub-reflector for a specific military application.

This effort to develop a new kind of imaging radar electronic sub-reflector has two technical areas: electronic sub-reflector approaches, which will last for six months; and electronic sub-reflector prototype demonstration, which will last for 18 months. Several contractors are expected to be involved.

Related: Raytheon to help DARPA develop RF and microwave arrays for communications, radar, EW, and SIGINT

Companies interested should submit abstracts no later than 26 Aug. 2014 to the DARPA BAA Website at https://baa.darpa.mil. Abstracts submitted will help DARPA researchers weed out proposals that are not of interest. Full proposals are due no later than 10 Oct. 2014.

Email questions or concerns to DARPA-BAA-14-53@darpa.mil. Register for the ASTIR proposers' day conference no later than 15 Aug. 2014 online at www.solers.com/BAAinfo-reg/astir.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/ODA/DARPA/CMO/DARPA-BAA-14-53/listing.html.

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

XCalibur1645 | Freescale Eight-Core P4080 Processor-Based Conduction-Cooled 6U VPX Module

The XCalibur1645 is a high-performance, 6U VPX, single board computer supporting Freescale QorIQ ...

XCalibur5090 | Dual Virtex-7 Based Digital Signal Processing 6U LRM FPGA with Quad 2500 MSPS DAC and 3200 MSPS ADC

The XCalibur5090 is a high-performance, reconfigurable, conduction-cooled 6U LRM module based on ...

XPedite7574 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module

The XPedite7574 is a high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the 5th genera...

Ultra-Flex Omni Antennas

The Southwest Antennas Ultra-Flex is a line of S-Band & C-Band omni antennas with a unique enviro...

4G LTE Cellular Omni Concealment Antenna

The 4G LTE Cellular Omni Concealment Antenna from Southwest Antennas measures only 4.70" x 1.70" ...

Body Worn Antennas

Body Worn Antennas from SWA are ideal for covert surveillance applications where the radio and an...

S & C Dual-Band Omni Antennas

SWA Dual-Band Omni Antennas are designed to cover the S & C bands, and are available with multipl...

UEINet™ Ultra Compact Gigabit Ethernet I/O Module

The UEINet™ Series Ethernet I/O module (Cube) is an ultra compact data acquisition, control and I...

XPand6903 | Rugged, Sealed, and Compact Intel® Atom-Based Fanless Embedded Box PC

The XPand6903 is a rugged, sealed, and compact fanless embedded box PC utilizing the Intel® Atom™...

ADLE3800PC - Intel® E3800 Series PCIe/104 Single Board Computer

The ADLE3800PC is based on Intel’s first System-on-Chip (SoC) E3800 Atom product family which is ...

Related Companies


Is a mechanical engineering consulting company headquartered in Los Angeles, CA with operations in Billerica, MA, pro...

LiquidCool Solutions

LiquidCool Solutions is a technology development firm with patents surrounding cooling electronics by total immersion...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...


Mil Spec EMC/NEMP/ filters and EMC product solutions for military applications.


PALMARII Dynamics is a Swedish company incorporated in 2012 as a competence centre for specialist naval architecture ...


Pelorus Naval Systems is a specialist naval defense engineering and support services company with headquarters in Ran...

Southwest Antennas

Southwest Antennas designs and manufactures high-performance RF & Microwave antennas and accessories designed for tod...


ISVI designs, produces and sells machine-vision camera systems combining high-speed and high-resolution sensors with ...

Premier Polymers

Provides seamless epoxy flooring and industrial resinous coatings

CORWIL Technology Corp

CORWIL Technology, the premier US based, IC assembly and test services subcontractor, offering full back-end assembly...


Harsh Environment Protection for Advanced Electronics and Components

This webinar will offer an opportunity to learn more about ultra-thin Parylene conformal coatings – how they are applied, applications they protect today, and the properties and benefits they offer, includin...

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

Press Releases


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has received a contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply its small form factor ...

Innovative Integration Announces the FMC-Servo

Camarillo, CA June 19, 2015, Innovative Integration, a trusted supplier of signal processing and data acquisition hardware and software solutions, today announced the FMC-S...


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has further enhanced its innovative VRD1 high definition (HD) video management system (VMS) w...

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

August 2015
Volume 26, Issue 8

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles