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CAF drones to be equipped with Leonardo E-scan

May 29, 2019  By Helicopters Staff

At the CANSEC exhibition in Ottawa, running until May 30, Leonardo announced it signed a multi-million Euro contract with prime contractor QinetiQ to provide a number of PicoSAR Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) – also known as E-Scan – radars. They will equip the new unmanned Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) aircraft that have been ordered by the Canadian Armed Forces.

Designed and manufactured by Leonardo in Edinburgh, UK, PicoSAR will be employed by Canadian military units at sea and on land, for both domestic and international operations. Leonardo’s E-Scan surveillance radars have been delivered to 30 countries, flying on more than 10 different aircraft.

Leonardo explains PicoSAR provides high-performance E-scan surveillance capabilities in an extremely compact package, making it well suited for installation on the Canadian Armed Forces’ new system, which is based on the lightweight UMS Skeldar V-200 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS).

Having PicoSAR on-board gives operators a range of modes to work with, including high resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging and Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI). Together, Leonardo explains these modes will deliver an effective all-weather ground mapping and surveillance capability for ISTAR missions.


As well as equipping its own platforms, Leonardo offers its airborne electronics directly to end users and also works with a range of industrial partners, such as QinetiQ, to provide sensor capabilities for third-party platforms

PicoSAR is part of a wider portfolio of airborne radars that include M-Scan (mechanically-scanning) and E-scan (electronically scanning) systems for both surveillance and fire-control missions.


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