CSIR, SCSH developing satellite radar


The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Space Commercial Services Holdings are partnering on a synthetic aperture radar for us in small satellites, it has been announced at the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition.

The CSIR and Space Commercial Services Holdings Aerospace Group (SCSH) entered into an agreement to design and develop a wide-area maritime synthetic aperture radar (SAR). The two organisations said the new offerings will be cost effective, light weight and deliver high value imagery for customers of the small satellite market.

The South African developed small satellite SAR will enable global stakeholders and partners to have strategic independence through full access and control to the data and information products, according to the CSIR and SCSH.

This type of radar is unique in that it provides all-weather, day and night strategic information for maritime surveillance, reconnaissance, resource and disaster management. The processed images enable planning, resource allocation and management for the ocean economy.

Erlank Pienaar, CSIR Manager: Radar And Electronic Warfare Systems, said the target market is the developing world.

The CSIR will be contributing to the collaboration its expertise in radar research and development, including airborne SAR systems, modelling and simulation, processing algorithms and techniques as well as systems and sub-systems.

The focus for SCSH will be contributing expertise in design and development of high-performance satellites and payloads, related sub-systems, support, and ground applications, including space-borne electro-optical, SAR and communication satellites. SCSH’s in-house teams will perform the design, modelling, manufacture, commissioning, operating and decommissioning of earth observation platforms and sub-systems.

Based in the Western Cape, SCSH specialises in advanced space technologies and follows a systems engineering approach for development, implementation and procurement support in satellite technology programmes.

The CSIR has been active in radar systems since its earliest use in South Africa as part of World War II campaigns. Research domains include space-borne, airborne and surface-based radar sensor technology development for strategic and persistent wide-area surveillance, radar cross section (RCS) determination, threat warning and target identification.

The radar and electronic warfare group has international partnerships and contracts for the development and supply of specialised radar and electronic warfare measurement, testing and evaluation as well as modelling and simulation facilities.

The announcement forms part of the CSIR’s strong presence at Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2014, which runs to 21 September. Exhibits on display include collaborative projects in radar test and evaluation platforms; partnerships in border security and support to anti-rhino poaching; custom technologies used by the SA Special Forces; use of composite material s and laser-based services for the manufacturing industry; mid-infrared lasers for sensing and military applications; gas turbine development projects and novel technology to protect the crew of personnel carriers against improvised explosive devices; and research into mobility and soldier sustainability.

The CSIR has also developed techniques for cyber security and network vulnerability testing, a suite of modelling and simulation environments used for test and evaluation or training purposes and integrative control room integrations for law enforcement or military command centres.

The CSIR has expertise in a number of areas, including Unmanned Aerial Systems, maritime domain awareness, cyber defence, border safeguarding, integrated radar and sensor systems, as well as latest sonar, laser, materials and manufacturing technologies.