Adaptive Radar Detection Approaches for Low-RCS Maritime Vessels in Highly Variable Clutter Conditions
Navy SBIR 2014.1 - Topic N141-067
ONR - Ms. Lore Anne Ponirakis - [email protected]
Opens: Dec 20, 2013 - Closes: Jan 22, 2014

N141-067 TITLE: Adaptive Radar Detection Approaches for Low-RCS Maritime Vessels in Highly Variable Clutter Conditions

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform, Sensors

RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN CITIZENS (i.e., those holding non-U.S. Passports): This topic is "ITAR Restricted". The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 - 130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data. Foreign Citizens may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the "Permanent Resident Card", or are designated as "Protected Individuals" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign citizen who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal will be rejected.

OBJECTIVE: Develop adaptive radar mode approaches to provide improvement in performance in highly variable maritime clutter conditions while utilizing available radar resources for wide area coverage.

DESCRIPTION: All airborne maritime surface search radars experience reduced detection performance in high clutter environments that typically limits their operational flight altitude. Operating at lower altitudes limits overall mission effectiveness in terms of area coverage for radar typically decreased platform fuel efficiency (higher burn rate). In addition, detection performance in small target modes is degraded in high clutter environments, even at these lower operating altitudes. Many current radar systems employ a fast revisit rate approach. These non-coherent modes require high peak radiated power and a high gain narrow antenna beam-width in azimuth for further mean clutter rejection. The remaining clutter that must be rejected primarily consists of sea spikes that can last for multiple seconds. These must be dealt with using sophisticated tracking techniques. This topic seeks to develop a mode structure and associated signal processing that leverages longer integration time for Doppler beam forming on the coherent component of the sea clutter and de-correlation relative to the target on the non-coherent component, and allows for other radar modes (high range resolution and inverse synthetic aperture radar) to be effectively interleave in order to take advantage of additional target classification discriminates. The approach should be applicable to both mechanically scanned and electronically scanned radar antenna systems.

PHASE I: Develop radar mode approaches capable of providing significant performance improvements (on the order of 10 dB) against small radar cross section (RCS) targets in a high clutter maritime environment. The product of Phase I will be a technical report detailing the preliminary design and expected performance based on analysis of either simulated or actual data.

PHASE II: Implement the algorithms developed in Phase I and demonstrate in a real-time environment. Demonstrate how the radar mode can be integrated with a candidate Navy radar system.

PHASE III: Transition the developed technology to appropriate platforms/sensors as part of a formal integration and test program. Candidate near term transition radar systems for this advanced radar mode include the AN/APS-153 radar used on the MH-60R Seahawk and the AN/ZPY-4 radar used on the MQ-8 Fire Scout.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: The clutter suppression approaches may find application to a wide range of radar, optical and even communication systems with both civilian and military applications.

1. Weinberg, G.V. (2012). Suboptimal Coherent Radar Detection in a KK-Distributed Clutter Environment. International Scholarly Research Network, ISRN Signal Processing, Volume 2012, Article ID 614653, 8 pages.

2. Rosenberg, L., Crisp, D.J., & Stacy, N.J. (2010). Analysis of the KK-distribution with medium grazing angle sea-clutter, IET Radar Sonar Navig., Vol. 4, Iss. 2, pp. 209�222.

KEYWORDS: Radar, clutter, small target detection, coherent processing, radar timeline optimization, adaptive modes

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