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Industry News

Overview of the European Radar Conference

Sector overview by Tony Brown, EuRAD 2011, Conference Chairman

September 30, 2011
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EuRAD 2011 is the eighth in the conference series. The event continues to be at the forefront of radar application, design and implementation and reflects current activity across the broad area of radar and related disciplines. In general, the European radar industry is evolving and encompassing new applications in the civilian, military and security sectors. The continued development of lower cost components and processing is impacting a broad range of solutions. As one of the conference's keynote speakers points out, this trend to lower costs and higher performance marks the beginning of an exciting era with new technologies, such as graphene-based devices offering the hope of dramatic changes in the future price/performance of microwave radar.

We have yet to see the end of Moore's Law and that increasing capability of digital processing impacts both radar and communications. This is leading to interesting developments between the disciplines. The use of MIMO and OFDM in radar are examples of this, with UWB communications and location finding techniques drawing on radar experience.

As military spending is under increasing pressure, there is greater emphasis on civilian and non-conventional military applications for radar. Anti-piracy and related border control issues are one market driver; safety and the environment are others. We are seeing a renewed interest in air traffic control systems, in marine radar, in imaging for security applications and, of course, in automotive applications, which are now moving confidently into the next generation.

At a technology level, interest in wide bandwidth radar continues to grow, recognising the inherent resolution and interference resilience these systems can bring. There is also continued strong interest in micro-Doppler and related target identification techniques and phased and digital beam-forming arrays continue to produce innovative approaches to serve military and civilian needs.

One problem that is of growing importance worldwide, and which is attracting interesting system solutions, is the potential impact of wind farms on a wide variety of radar. Across Europe and the USA, different solutions are being proposed from improved tracking and signal processing through to high resolution "fill in" radars and the design of low RCS wind turbines. This problem continues to challenge radar designers for robust and cost-effective solutions.

Overall, the radar community is maintaining vibrancy, despite the economic climate and by innovative use of technologies, looks set to continue to address both existing and new application challenges.

FP7 Project

The Protection of European BoRders and Seas through the IntElligent Use of Surveillance (PERSEUS) project has been instigated to provide protection of the European seas and borders with the smart use of technologies. The project, with a budget of €43.7 M and an execution period of four years, addresses the call for an integrated European system for maritime border control. Its purpose is to build and demonstrate an EU maritime surveillance system integrating existing national and community installations and enhancing them with innovative technologies.
PERSEUS will incorporate technological innovations regarding detection and analysis applied to maritime security, particularly for the detection of low flying targets and small vessels. Multiple sensors and sources of information will be incorporated into the system, which will also employ technologies and capabilities under development by other EU projects, including other segments such as Space.

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