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A distribution-free procedure applicable to the detection of a signal in some element of a multiple-resolution-element radar is described. The procedure is based on rank-order statistics and is applicable to either a sequential or fixed-sample-size test; however, emphasis is placed on the sequential procedure. Results are given showing the expected sample size and probability of detection for the case of envelope detection (square-law or linear) of a fluctuating signal (Swerling model 2). A comparison is made with the optimum parametric sequential procedure.