ODNI Commissions Study of Radar Imaging Options

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NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has commissioned a panel to make recommendations for a future architecture of radar imaging capabilities that may include space and airborne assets developed by the U.S. government and other governments, and by commercial providers, an intelligence official said Nov. 3.

Winston Beauchamp, technical executive for the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), said the exercise will be modeled after a study commissioned by the ODNI in 2008 to examine options for a next-generation electro-optical satellite imaging architecture. That study recommended that the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office develop two large, exquisite-class spy satellites and the NGA buy the imagery equivalent of two smaller satellites from U.S. commercial imagery satellite operators, a plan that ultimately was agreed upon by Pentagon and intelligence community leaders and approved by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009.

In a similar fashion, another panel is now studying possible architectures for radar imaging systems, Beauchamp said at the GeoInt 2010 conference here. Beauchamp led the electro-optical study and is leading the radar imaging study.

The recommendations resulting from the study likely will include a mix of assets developed by many providers, Beauchamp said. The panel has been encouraged recently by the availability and capabilities of international synthetic aperture radar systems, he said.

The panel expects to complete its work next year.