Surveillance Radar for Comprehensive Threat Detection

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The Challenge

Our client, a world leader in providing state-of-the-art perimeter surveillance systems, wanted a radar capable of long-range detection with a low false-alarm rate.

It required the use of standard industrial components across all system parts and be designed for the lightweight, compact & man-portable form factor.

The Approach

Plextek utilised Passive Electronically Scanned Arrays (PESA) for electronic scanning combining Doppler processing.

Using standard industrial parts minimalises manufacturing costs, and the solution was delivered with no moving parts, eliminating the need for routine maintenance.

The Outcome

Our solution was able to detect the presence of moving personnel and vehicles at a range of several kilometres.

The technology is capable of simultaneous target detection for both close and long-range distances, scanning hilltops and valleys without manually tilting the radar.

We also incorporated low radio transmission power to allow for safe human operation. In feedback, our solution fulfilled all our client’s unique requirements.

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Millimetre-Wave Radar for Foreign Object Detection

Our client’s vision was for a low size, weight and power solution that could be easily deployed into the market without compromising high accuracy performance.
- Gareth Williams, Engineering Director, Plextek

The Challenge

Wave Tech, a Korean-based RF signal technology company, required a short-range Foreign Object Detection (FOD) system for airport runways.

FOD is an important security, safety and quality control in any aviation environment; where small debris, loose objects and wildlife has the potential to cause damage to airport equipment and delays to runway operation.

Our client’s vision was for a low size, weight and power solution that could be easily deployed into the market without compromising high accuracy performance.

The Approach

Our recent studies into millimetre-wave radar enabled us to produce a dual fixed and mobile antenna solution capable of detecting objects and movements from a fixed radar range of 400m.

Plextek designed and mounted a fixed antenna along the runway for stationary scanning and detection. A mobile system; a 300mm antenna for rapid rotation, was also delivered and was designed to be mounted onto the roof of a vehicle to scan the runway while moving.

Enhancing the situational awareness of the technology required utilising advanced signal processing algorithms to discriminate between wanted and unwanted signals and to separate detection of targets in close proximity to each other.

The Outcome

Our mm-wave radar solution was able to deliver 100% target illumination results in early-stage development tests, displaying accuracy and detection equivalent to a single fixed antenna.

The advanced design enabled our client to produce highly accurate FOD results with reduced deployment costs and time to market.

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Technology Assessment of Digital Systems

Home » Case Study » Defence

The Brief

UK forces use video cameras extensively for remote monitoring and surveillance. Frequently, these video streams are carried over wireless links.

With most current systems using analogue technology, our client, Ministry of Defence, wanted to assess the performance improvements by moving to digital.

This required a technology assessment of existing digital system architectures to evaluate whether the potential benefits were there to build future sensor networks.

The Approach

Plextek performed an industry survey of technology developments and an assessment of key requirements from user representatives.

After shortlisting a set of approaches and testing a range of user panels, we developed a demonstrator system to showcase the best combination of technologies.

The Impact

Playing a leading role in preparing the technical requirements of our client’s procurement contract, we ensured the system design met the user requirements through radio performance testing, video quality assessment and system acceptance testing.

“I write to express my thanks on behalf of the Director and the User community for the contribution of the Plextek team to the success of the programme. Your support throughout the programme, often at short notice, has always been of a high standard.”

The system is now deployed within the DE&S Delivery Team and the user community.

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Armour Integrity Monitoring System (AIMS™)

Home » Case Study » Defence

The Brief

Body armour can be damaged during training or operations resulting in considerable reduction in its ability to provide impact protection. Damage to the ceramic plate often takes the form of hairline fractures which are only visible during x-ray analysis.

Answering a Defence Science and Technology Laboratory research call to reduce the 100% need to return body armour for x-ray analysis, we developed an infield integrity monitoring and testing sensor.

We have further developed the sensor technology for potential application within the Defence and Security market.

The Approach

To be retrofitted onto existing body armour stocks, the candidate solution would have to be low size, weight, power and cost as well as have a low training burden for users.

We developed a micro-electromechanical system with fine-tuned accelerometer sensors to detect shock waves associated with the formation of cracks caused by an impact.

Extensive non-destructive testing of our sensor validated our approach. With form factor and power consumption in mind, the sensor has a 5 year operating life from a slim coin cell battery.

The Impact

AIMSTM is a low size, weight and power sensor solution that delivers immediate status of the body armour to the user, removing the need for costly routine x-ray analysis.

The user can rapidly assess the integrity of their body armour through status information presented as a simple, single screen graphic on a Smartphone App or by a press-to-test button showing a simple pass/fail via an LED indicator.

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