Drone Purchases Drive Competition for New Radars

As medium-altitude UAVs become more widespread around the globe, the competition to sell the radars they carry is heating up. Meanwhile, demand is increasing for a fuller range of UAV radar capabilities, notably maritime surveillance.

A recent example of an air force wanting more out of its UAV radar is in Italy, where generals decided last month to dispatch their unarmed MQ-9 UAVs — which have flown in Afghanistan — to join the search for fishing boats carrying migrants in the Mediterranean after a number of vessels sank, drowning hundreds.

Working fast, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, the US maker of the MQ-9, began testing the software addition needed to give the Italian MQ-9’s Lynx Block 30 radar a maritime capability.

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