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The detection performance of a conventional narrowband analyzer is compared with two adaptive processor mechanizations based on the Widrow least mean squares algorithm. Comparisons are based on both analysis and extensive digital simulation. With a narrowband signal in stationary, white background noise, the performance of the three systems is shown to be essentially the same. With nonstationary background noise, the performance of the conventional system degrades by an amount proportional to the processing time-bandwidth product. The adaptive systems appear to be less sensitive to the nonstationary background, resulting in a potential performance advantage relative to the conventional system.