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MCARA Aircraft > F/A-18 D (ATARS) Hornet

The Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System (ATARS) is designed to provide U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18D aircraft the capability to fulfill the airborne tactical reconnaissance role left open upon the retirement of the RF-4. It will provide near real time high resolution digital imagery in day, night, or under-the-weather conditions.

The F/A-18 Tactical Reconnaissance System is a real-time/near real-time imaging system for image acquisition, data storage, and data link. It consists of the Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System (ATARS) with infrared and visible light sensors, two digital tape recorders, and a Reconnaissance Management System (RMS); an interface with the APG-73 Radar Upgrade (Phase II) which records synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery; and a digital data link mounted in a centerline pod. ATARS fits in the nose of any post-Lot 14 F/A-18D in place of the nose gun, with a small datalink pod mounted on the centerline station. The digital data link will transmit imagery and auxiliary data to any Common Imaging Ground/Surface Station (CIG/SS) compatible system including the Joint Services Imagery Processing System (JSIPS) or Marine Tactical Exploitation Group (TEG) based ashore and Navy JSIPS (JSIPS-N) aboard ship.

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