PLX-U16
Ubiquitous Radar

Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles are now widely available in commercial, industrial and consumer markets. Reliably detecting, tracking and identifying drones can be problematic particularly in urban areas where line of sight is diminished.

tracking and identifying drones can be problematic particularly in urban areas
Radar can differentiate between drones and birds

Plextek’s PLX-U16 Ubiquitous Radar has been designed and developed to address these issues. In contrast to traditional scanning radars which scan a narrow beam around the scene the PLX-U16 Radar is able to detect returns from many directions simultaneously. It can differentiate between drones and birds even determining the size and type of drone (e.g. fixed wing vs rotary wing).

The PLX-U16 has a wide range of applications and is very versatile, for example it can be deployed in congested environments (e.g. on ground, side of buildings) as part of a distributed sensing system. Alternatively, it can be mounted on drone/helicopter as a forward-facing radar to provide medium range (500 m – 1 km, depending on target size) detection.

Key Features:

  • Low size weight and power
  • Deployable on the ground, buildings or drones
  • Operates standalone, or as apart of a distributed radar network to provide coverage in complex cluttered environments
  • Can detect, localise and track a wide range of targets including drones, people, cars, helicopters and more
  • Can reliably distinguish between birds and drones
  • Technology can be used as a seeker for hunter-killer drones, or collision avoidance for uncrewed systems
  • Operates in Ku band (15.7-17.2 GHz)
PLX-U16 Ubiquitous Radar

Example Applications:

The PLX-U16 platform can be used for a wide and diverse range of applications, including but not limited to:

Mounted on drone/helicopter as a forward facing radar to provide medium range (500 m – 1km, depending on target size) detection capability against other airborne targets
Mounted on drone/helicopter as a forward facing radar to provide medium range (500 m – 1km, depending on target size) detection capability against other airborne targets
Potentially slightly downward facing to enable measurement of ground-Doppler to assist in GPS-denied navigation
Potentially slightly downward facing to enable measurement of ground-Doppler to assist in GPS-denied navigation
Deployable radar in congested environments (e.g. on ground, side of buildings) – as part of a distributed sensing system
Deployable radar in congested environments (e.g. on ground, side of buildings) – as part of a distributed sensing system
Infill/Overwatch radar (to plug gaps in the coverage of other wide area surveillance systems)
Infill/Overwatch radar (to plug gaps in the coverage of other wide area surveillance systems)

Background – Detecting UAS

Detecting UAS
  • Countering drones is a difficult and challenging problem
  • Detecting Class 1 drones at range is difficult (even with a high power radar)
  • Class 1 drones can have a low RCS (-20 dBsm), and fly low and slow
  • Ranges > 500 m difficult in many environments due to line of sight issues

PLX-U16 – Distributed Sensing

PLX-U16 – Distributed Sensing
  • Use several radars to provide a distributed sensing capability
  • Provides coverage in shadow regions
  • Can deploy as unattended sensors to extend the range and area of coverage

Ubiquitous Radar Benefits

  • Wide beam on transmit, digitally beamform on receive
  • Radar able to detect returns from many directions simultaneously
  • Contrast with traditional scanning radars which scan a narrow beam around the scene
  • Enables tracking of multiple dynamic targets simultaneously
  • Enables extended dwell times on a target which aids target classification, without compromising simultaneous wide area coverage

Target Classification

  • Differentiate between drones and birds / other confusers
  • Determine type of drone (e.g. fixed wing vs rotary wing)
  • Estimate size of drone
Bird
Ubiquitous Radar: Bird Target Classification
Drone
Ubiquitous Radar: Drone Target Classification

Specification

Physical Size:  Total (Inc Tx Mounting Bracket): 337 mm x 100 mm x 60 mm

Mass:  Radar Module 1.4 kg

Supply Voltage: Input  12 – 15 VDC (regulated supply required)

Power Consumption:  < 45 W

Transmit frequency:  Within the allocation 15.7 – 17.2 GHz (Ku-band)

Transmit power:  1 W typical (2 W max)

Transmission mode:  FMCW

Beamforming:  Beamform-on-receive using parallel receive channels

Transmitted bandwidth:  20 MHz

Angular accuracy of detections (azimuth and elevation):  Typically ±3° or better

Detection Range:  Target size dependent (Typically many hundreds of metres against a small target)

Field of view:  120° (azimuth) x 15° (elevation)

Maximum instrumented range:  800 m (Greater ranges attenuated by anti-alias filtering)

Range resolution:  8 m

Data and Control Interface:  GbE

IP Rating:  Designed to meet IP65

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