The Tactical Reconnaissance and Counter-Concealment-Enabled Radar, capable of detecting targets buried, concealed, or concealed under foliage, finished flight testing on an MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft, announced Lockheed Martin, the radar’s maker. Before the MQ-9 trials, testers flew 100 sorties with TRACER on manned platforms to validate the radar’s ability to “provide commanders with intelligence not currently available from higher frequency radars or electro-optical systems,” said Jim Quinn, Lockheed’s reconnaissance systems vice president. During the MQ-9 tests, they focused on assessing TRACER’s ability to identify targets of interest that would be relevant to US military commanders in places like Africa, Southwest Asia, Central and South America, and the Pacific, according to the company. TRACER is carried in a wing-mounted pod; the dual-band (UHF/VHF) synthetic aperture radar system is capable of immediate image downloads to ground stations. Lockheed currently has four deployable TRACER kits. The Army has sponsored TRACER’s development. (See also FlightGlobal report)
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.