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This paper describes the specific development of a planar and especially low-cost near-field obstacle warning sensor system for helicopters based on an adapted electronically steerable automotive radar. All system components, from the antenna arrays, the RF modules, to the baseband processing, the signal processing algorithms, and 3-D data visualization were developed and a complete system prototype was built. Ground-based system field trials (static and dynamic sensor tests) were successfully performed during which typical obstacles like overhead power lines, trees, and poles were detected and visualized. In addition, algorithms for geo-referencing of the sensor movements and the detected obstacles were developed and verified.