US NAVAL RESEARCH LABORATORY
THE US NAVAL RESEARCH LABORATORY (NRL) will lead a team of scientists and engineers to fly a Multi-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (MB-SAR) to gather information to aid in the search and recovery of unaccounted aircraft losses in Papua New Guinea during World War II.
The US Pacific Command and Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) is sponsoring the mission.
It is believed many of the downed aircraft sites are located in the Northern, Central, and Morobe Provinces in austere terrain under triple canopy foliage. The goal of the mission is to highlight the effectiveness of remote sensing information to aid JPAC search and recovery efforts.
Similar SAR technology was employed in 2006 which resulted in production of a digital model of the entire mainland of PNG.
The team will fly a Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop aircraft that has been specially modified to carry the MB-SAR system.
Operating from Port Moresby’s Jacksons International Airport, the team will conduct daytime operations three to five times per week in a search pattern over the Central and Morobe Provinces gathering data to use in making maps of possible wreckage sites.
The MB-SAR aircraft team will host a PNG Defence Force rider on the flights for project oversight and coordination with the appropriate PNG Defence Force and airspace controlling authorities.
NRL welcomes collaboration and interaction with University of PNG researchers and representatives from the National Mapping Bureau and PNG National Museum who have an interest in learning about the use of MB-SAR technology and applications.
Processing of the data into maps showing the possible locations of downed aircraft will be conducted in the United States at the offices of NRL. The maps will be provided to the PNG government when completed.