New Modular Sensor Suite Offers Adaptability for ISR Missions

Marshall Aerospace’s ARC Radar is a role-fit palletized solution with no permanent integration and no modifications required, utilizing only existing aircraft power outlets to temporarily outfit fleets for ISR missions By DA Staff / 31 Mar 2023
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Marshall Aerospace has unveiled its Adaptable Role-fit Capability (ARC)-Radar, a modular sensor suite that allows operators of tactical transport aircraft to rapidly and temporarily outfit their fleet for military and civil Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions. 

According to Marshall, its ARC-Radar solves a key logistical problem facing fleet operators: since ISR tasks require complex combinations of sensitive equipment, system installation tends to require extensive and typically permanent modifications to their aircraft or investment in a purpose-built ISR airframe.

By contrast, Marshall ARC-Radar is a role-fit palletized solution with no permanent integration and no modifications required, utilizing only existing aircraft power outlets.

The system comprises a two-panel Leonardo Osprey 30 multi-domain Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) surveillance radar, two modified paratroop doors containing a Marshall-designed and manufactured ultra-low-profile conformal radome, a rear pallet containing two articulated radar mounts and Line-Replaceable Unit (LRU) rack, and a forward pallet containing a mission management console.

The capabilities of Leonardo’s radar combined with the inherent multi-role flexibility of tactical transport platforms means that Marshall ARC-Radar’s potential applications range from military ISR land, sea or air missions to applied civilian operations such as search and rescue, humanitarian support, and disaster relief. Despite being fitted temporarily, the Osprey 30 radar suite maintains full performance during operation.

The entire Marshall system can be fitted or removed in under four hours, guaranteeing minimal aircraft downtime. No modifications need to be made to the underlying aircraft and there are no performance or handling penalties with the product installed. The result is that fleet operators are freely able to alter the role of an aircraft on a day-by-day basis. The role-fit nature of the solution means that operators are not constrained to the availability of a single aircraft.

Offering the core capability of a dedicated ISR system but with the added flexibility of a transferable multi-mission system utilizing an existing fleet provides a potential cost saving of millions. The scalable nature of the system also allows for future growth of ISR capability at minimal cost.

Marshall ARC-Radar

“The unique benefit of this roll-on-roll-off system is that it effectively expands the utilization of existing assets for multi-mission purposes,” said Ben Jakubowski, head of Marshall Aerospace’s Future Products team. “This means the operator could be transporting troops on a Monday and conducting an ISR mission on a Tuesday with the same aircraft, our solution offers true operational mobility.”

Marshall ARC-Radar has undergone extensive testing on the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules platform. In addition to ground-fit trials, a product proving sortie was recently flown with the aim of testing the capability of the radar. During this flight trial, all radar modes were tested and their performance thoroughly verified by Leonardo representatives on a range of static and moving targets of various sizes over both land and sea.

“Marshall’s system using our Osprey 30 AESA radar demonstrated performance which looked as good as any similar system I have tested to date,” said Stan Hargreaves, Leonardo’s Head of Operational Demonstrations, who operated the radar during the flight trial. “The Marshall Team should be immensely proud of the innovative product they have developed.”

Additionally, the modular format of the Marshall ARC platform will allow multiple interchangeable missions across various C-130 configurations as well as a wider range of military transport aircraft. Likewise, the system’s modularity also provides a simplified future upgrade path for a range of sensors and satcom solutions as technology evolves.

Marshall ARC-Radar for ISR

According to the company, ARC-Radar is the first of several products that will be rolled out within the Marshall Adaptable Role-fit Capability (ARC) family in the near future.

Marshall ARC-Radar system key specifications:

  • Maximum range: 200NM
  • Targets: Up to 1000 tracks
  • Modes: 
    • Maritime Surface Surveillance: Maritime surveillance Small target mode
    • Strip and Spot SAR Ground Mapping: High resolution wide area ground mapping
    • Moving target detection: Ground, Maritime and Air MTI Air-to-Air Intercept
  • Aircraft interface: Standard 463L Master Pallet
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