It will have the capability to track the most advanced cruise missiles at a distance in excess of 370 miles and dismounted enemy combatants on the ground nearly 200 miles away.
Achieving this goal will require the development of technologies that enable extremely large, lightweight phased-array radar antennas to be integrated into an airship platform.
Major technical challenges are the development of ultra-lightweight antennas, antenna calibration technologies, power systems, station keeping approaches, and airships that support extremely large antennas.
“Under this contract, Lockheed Martin will perform preliminary design and analysis, development, production and validation testing of an advanced airship hull material,” said Jeffery L. Mack, program manager in the Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate.
“The effort also includes developing the process to adhere both solar panels and radar arrays to the materials,” he explained. “Thirty hull material samples will be delivered to other ISIS contractors.”
“We are investigating four of the critical ISIS technologies here at Rome,” said Mack, citing active electronically scanned arrays, lightweight/low power transmit/receive modules and prime power for near-space environments, in addition to advanced hull material.
“The vision for this stratospheric platform is an array of sensors to create a radar nearly as large as the airship itself,” he emphasized.