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Bi-/Multi-static radar performance evaluation under synchronized conditions

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Sensors & Electronics Technology

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Common Time Reference, Minimum Performance Specification


Most distributed sensor systems in operation today rely on GNSS-based time synchronization which can easily be jammed or even spoofed. Therefore, new technologies have to be explored to guarantee operations in adverse scenarios. No other NATO scientific group is fully focussed in this immensely important topic. The group will assess technologies to synchronise between nodes of a distributed radar, assess the accuracy of such a synchronisation scheme, define a metric that is appropriate to a specific synchronisation technology. The University of Cape Town has been a research leader in radar synchronisation using glass-fibre based techniques as well as wireless GPSDO based techniques. Achieving synchronisation between distributed sensor nodes is an important research area as future radar concepts are increasingly tending toward spatial diversity and GNSS-based synchronization is not secure in many scenarios.


The principal scientific objectives of this group will be to evaluate the performance of a time-synchronised bi-/multi-static (spatially distributed) radar. Inherent to this, one of the fundamental research questions must be: how good does the timing precision and accuracy need to be? Extremely fine time accuracy between radar nodes might not make sense when the actual radars are of low RF resolution? So the group aims to establish international benchmarks on how to define adequate synchronisation fidelity throughout the network. Study will also be conducted about how to establish synchronisation in a GNSS denied environment. Possible synchronisation methods then include the fibre based White Rabbit protocol, very low phase noise stable oscillators, and possibly aspects of Quasi-Monostatic techniques where applicable. To execute the study as intended and described requires measurement and data exchange. This will be achieved through the respective resources of the participating institutions. A Cooperative Demonstration of Technology (CDT) is expected.


• Performance assessment of bi/multi-static radar under various time-synchronised conditions. • Full analysis of possible synchronisation technologies, such as fibre-based, atomic clocks, GPSDO-based techniques. Each technology has its individual characteristics and some technologies may not be appropriate in the military context. • Evaluating the performance of the combined synchronisation scheme with the bi-/multi-static radar under investigation. • Physical demonstrations based on bi-/multi-static radars that have a CTR scheme implemented. Demonstration of enhanced information content over conventional systems.

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