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A passive bistatic radar for detection of aircraft using spaceborne transmitters

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2 Author(s)
William C. Barott ; Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering Department, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida ; Brian Butka

This research reports on the construction of a demonstration platform for a passive ground-based primary radar station for monitoring aircraft. The key to the system is the use of existing satellite transmitters as illuminators for the radar system. This proposed system can provide accurate position and velocity measurements of aircraft or small unmanned aircraft at ranges of tens to hundreds of nautical miles away from the ground station. This station is a light-weight, low-cost, portable, and field-deployable option to supplement deficiencies in the National Airspace System (NAS) and homeland security surveillance networks. Potential applications include providing coverage in remote mountainous regions, low-altitude en-route primary radar coverage throughout the continental United States, and low-altitude interdiction efforts in coastal areas. As a field-deployable system, this could also be used to quickly restore primary radar coverage in the event that a disaster or terrorist event disables existing primary radars. Additionally, the portable and non-emitting nature of the radar permits use in a wide range of applications where emitting radars are unacceptable. Previous research in the area of passive radar has used terrestrial sources as illuminators since satellite sources have been traditionally viewed as too weak. What makes this research unique is that it takes specialized signal processing techniques typically used to detect objects in deep space for radio astronomy applications and applies them to the domain of terrestrial bistatic radar. The system has been constructed and characterization of system performance is in process.

Published in:

Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC), 2011 IEEE/AIAA 30th

Date of Conference:

16-20 Oct. 2011