In preparation for its installation on the US Navy Triton aircraft, more than 25 flight tests have been completed on the system’s primary sensor. The multifunction active sensor (MFAS) will provide the unmanned aircraft with a 360-deg. view of ocean and coastal regions. Its capabilities will also make it possible to merge the data with information received from the system’s other sensors and equipment.The full suite allows monitoring areas as large as 2,000 nautical miles at one time.
The MFAS is an active, electronically and mechanically scanned array radar designed especially for maritime surveillance missions. The combination of electronic scanning and mechanical rotation allows the radar to spotlight an area of interest for longer periods of time, increasing detection capabilities for smaller targets. The design also makes switching between surveillance methods easier. For instance, maritime-surface-search (MSS) mode can be used for tracking maritime targets and inverse-synthetic-aperture radar (ISAR) mode can be used for classifying ships.