Holographic radar technology completes target-scoring trial

Cambridge Consultants has announced the successful demonstration of its holographic radar technology for target scoring in live-firing trials under a US Department of Defense (DoD) programme.

According to Cambridge Consultants, the programme is aimed at improving the projectile-scoring capabilities of the US Navy and Army on land- and sea-surface ranges to mitigate the high costs of live-fire training and deliver more accurate data. The system is the first to align holographic radar (a non-scanning 3D radar that continuously illuminates its field of view) and target-scoring technologies.

The US Department for Operational Test and Evaluation required radar technology that could measure the trajectory and burst point of 5in and 50-calibre projectiles fired against high-speed manoeuvrable target vehicles.

An accurate scoring system mounted on the target vehicle allows training shots to be fired with an offset to provide a measure of effectiveness without the destruction of the vehicle.

Land- and sea-surface vehicle installations are said to present a challenge because the clutter return produced by the ground or water surface is considerably larger than the projectile to be measured.

On moving vehicles the challenge is increased and on sea targets it is complicated even further by the sea state. Holographic radar technology is claimed to extract projectiles of interest from clutter using tracking algorithms while retaining the full sensitivity of the radar. 

Using its holographic radar technology, Cambridge Consultants developed the Land and Surface Target Scorer (LSTS) system. Installed on high-speed land- or sea-surface target vehicles, the system uses receiver array panels combined with high-speed signal processing to detect and track small projectiles in the presence of very large radar clutter, such as that experienced on moving land- and sea-surface targets.

During recent trials at the NSWC Test Range, the LSTS system detected, tracked and located the splash point of inert 5in projectiles and was also able to pinpoint the burst point of a high-explosive round.

In a multiple-shot burst, the system separately tracked four shells fired at three-second intervals. Observers were able to see the results in near-real time on a laptop PC.

The demonstration test took place with the radar system mounted on a tethered pontoon to prove its detection and tracking capabilities over a zone within the specified 360°, 1,000ft coverage. The demonstration team then conducted a rapid-fire test, during which all rounds were tracked through to impact on the water. 

Development of the LSTS system developed by Cambridge Consultants under the US DoD programme is expected to be taken to the next level during 2011, concluding with a full-coverage demonstration, installed on a sea target moving at high speed, with results being continuously produced in real time over an extended test period. A demonstration of the system’s ability to detect and track 50-calibre shells will also be conducted.