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Separation of SSR Signals by Array Processing in Multilateration Systems

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3 Author(s)
Petrochilos, N. ; Tor Vergata Univ., Rome, Italy ; Galati, G. ; Piracci, E.

Location and identification of cooperating aircraft in the airport area (and beyond) may be implemented by multilateration (MLAT) systems using the secondary surveillance radar (SSR) mode S signals. Most of these signals, spontaneously emitted from on-board mode S transponders at a fixed carrier frequency, arrive randomly at the receiving station, as well as many mode A/C replies from legacy transponders still in use. Several SSR signals are, then, overlapped in multiple aircraft situations. Therefore, the aim of this work is the separation of overlapped SSR signals, i.e., signals superimposed in time at receiving stations. We improve the MLAT receiving station by replacing the single antenna by an array of m elements and using array signal processing techniques. In the literature, several algorithms address the general source separation problem, but a very few of them are specifically designed for a mixture of overlapping SSR replies. Unfortunately, all of them have either some shortcomings, or an expensive computational cost, or no simple practical implementation. In this paper, we use the time sparsity property of the sources to propose more reliable, simpler, and more effective algorithms based on projection techniques to separate multiple SSR signals. Real recorded signals in a live environment are used to demonstrate the effectiveness of our method.

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:45 ,  Issue: 3 )