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USAF F-16 TARS program selects new Solid State Recorder

February 27, 2004 (by Lieven Dewitte) - L-3 Communications Systems-East has been awarded a contract by BAE Systems to provide its Strategic / Tactical Airborne Recorder (S/TAR) for the USAF Theater Airborne Reconnaissance System (TARS). They will be supplying these state of the art systems for both the TARS Electro-Optical P3I Program and the TARS Synthetic Aperture Radar program.

USAF F-16D from the 192nd FW/149th FS with a TARS reconnaissance pod on the centerline hardpoint. The Virginia ANG unit was the first F-16 unit to achieve IOC on the Theater Airborne Reconnaissance System [USAF photo]

In the first phase of this strategic win, L-3 Communications will deliver its S/TAR RM-4000T to BAE Systems for pod level integration in May 2004.

The RM-4000T S/TAR solid-state recorder was optimized for the TARS pod and features 64Gbytes of non-volatile storage, simultaneous record / play operations and target event marking capability. The system is fully NATO STANAG 4575 compliant, ensuring interoperability of the F-16 TARS reconnaissance system with NATO forces.

The current F-16 TARS system is a daytime, "under-the-weather" reconnaissance pod to support intelligence and targeting requirements of military, multinational, and other government agency users. The pod currently employs electro-optical sensors for overflight and standoff operations..

The F-16 carries the pod on the centerline so that it remains fully armed and is able to support air-to-air and air-to-ground missions while gathering intelligence imagery.

This P3I (Pre-Planned Product Improvement) program includes the addition of a digital solid-state recording system as well as a wideband data link. The wideband data link provides both air-to-air and air-to-ground, network-centric interoperability. This transformational communication system is supplied by L-3 Communication Systems - West (Salt Lake City, Utah). The addition of these new sub-systems will allow the TARS pod to provide real-time Image Intelligence (IMINT) to the war-fighter.

L-3 Communication Systems-East, based in Camden, NJ, designs, develops, produces and integrates communication systems and support equipment for commercial, space, ground, air and naval operations. L-3 Communication Systems-East is a division of L-3 Communications.