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NATO NSPA has developed new solution to track ballistic missiles using drone and radar.


| 2021

According to an article published on the NATO website, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has developed an innovative solution to test NATO Air Radars' ability to track ballistic missiles using a radio-controlled and programmable quadrocopter and a Radar transponder. (Story by NATO Support and Procurement Agency)
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The testing system consists of a radio-controlled and programmable quadrocopter and a Radar transponder. (Picture source NATO)


The increasing proliferation of ballistic missiles poses a threat to NATO Nations populations, territory and forces. Deterring these threats is part of NATO's core task of collective defence. To help contributing to this effort, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has developed an innovative solution to test NATO Air Radars' ability to track ballistic missiles.

The testing system consists of a radio controlled and programmable quadrocopter and a Radar transponder, a specially designed radio communication device that repeats the Radar signal and thereby simulates the missile trajectory. NSPA team of engineers operates the transponder and analyses the data to offer an accurate picture of the Radar's ability to detect incoming missiles.

The new capability enhances NATO Nations' ability to perform test campaigns against ballistic missile threats on their Air Defence Radars, without incurring high costs or time-consuming processes. "This would have previously required the costly and resources-consuming physical relocation of the Radar to a specialised missile firing range and the launching of missiles. However, using a drone to fly the projected missile trajectory and a transponder to produce the appropriate Radar returns allows for a highly cost efficient and adaptable testing campaign", assures René Rothmann, NSPA Air Surveillance & Air C2 Systems Group Manager.

This service is available to all NATO Nations and it can be performed wherever the Radar is located. Tests can be repeated and vary within a wide range of programmable parameters, without the need to use multiple missile launches.

NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence (NATO IAMD) is an essential mission in peacetime, crisis and conflict that safeguards and protects the Alliance territory, populations and forces against air and missile threat and attack. Through its Communications, Air and Missile Programme, NSPA contributes to this collective effort offering testing capabilities for a varied number of Radar types.

Many Radars have been successfully tested in support to the NATINAMD mission and the Agency stands ready to broaden the service for the benefit of the Nations.


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