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Silentium Defence to trial passive radar technology on drones

The RQ-7 Shadow 200 is a Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operated by the Australian Army; Silentium will work with existing in-service UASs to test integration of its passive radar system for ISAR purposes. Photo: via Silentium Defence

Silentium Defence will trial integration of its disruptive passive radar surveillance sensors on airborne platforms, initially targeting small to medium drones and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

The trials, believed to be an industry world-first, will leverage the unique size, weight, and power advantages of passive radar over existing active radar capabilities to extend the survivability and surveillance range of unmanned airborne ISR platforms and improve the quality of surveillance data generated.

Silentium will work with existing drone and UAS platform providers and customers to trial static and on-the-move deployments of its airborne passive radar systems. Passive radar has already proven its versatility and value in maritime, ground based air, and space surveillance roles with more than $15m in contracts executed with the Australian Defence Force and commercial organisations.

“The challenge with existing ISR capabilities of small to medium UAS is they are power, and payload constrained,” says Silentium Defence CEO Dr James Palmer.  “Passive radar overcomes both these barriers and exploits megawatts of existing energy in the environment to provide greater range and performance without highlighting the drone or user’s presence.

Palmer says Silentium’s pass radar sensors are cost-effective, lightweight and more power efficient which makes them easy to scale across operations and integrate with payloads, even on small format drones and UAS.

“Deployed independently or as part of a meshed network, UAS with integrated passive radar are more versatile and multi-purpose, providing covert situational awareness to inform the ISR picture, and counter-drone capability to protect people and assets simultaneously,” he adds.

Successful integration of passive radar into airborne platforms will enable Defence to conduct long range surveillance covertly and increase overall survivability. Silentium has expressed an interest in supporting a range of existing major ISR programs including JP129 in its various forms and future P-8 and AEW&C upgrades, opening the way to future international exports.

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