Bistatic radar tracking and fire control system

Passive continuous surveillance and tracking of targets may

Communications Military Technology

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Conventional (monostatic) radar systems have the transmitter and receiver co-located on the same platform. This has the disadvantage of making the transmitter detectable from a great distance. If used in a military vehicle or aircraft an enemy may easily determine its location. Bistatic radar was developed wherein the transmitter and receiver are located separately, allowing the vehicle or aircraft to receive only and thus avoid detection by an enemy.

A bistatic radar transmitter may be located on a platform that is difficult for an enemy to destroy, such as on a low earth orbit satellite. At present, the timing of the low earth orbit systems are known and thus the enemy will cease all operation during the surveillance period. In addition, low earth orbit satellite radars require a network of many satellites to provide comprehensive coverage. Within the network, it is possible to have gaps as large as 15 to 20 minutes, creating a handoff problem from one satellite to the next.

The Navy has proposed a solution to the above with a system for tracking and computing a firing solution for one or multiple targets utilizing bistatic radar. The approach uses a phased array antenna upon a satellite platform in a geosynchronous orbit with the earth. A radar transmitter illuminates a selected area of the earth containing the target(s) and a receiving antenna receives a signal from the illuminated target(s). Targets in the illuminated area are tracked over time, enabling a fire control solution to be computed. The use of a bistatic radar scheme enables the receiving antenna platform (such as an aircraft, a low earth orbit satellite, or a land base to track targets without employing active radar and risk being detected.

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