SIGNAL PROCESSING BASED SENSOR IMPROVEMENTS

SUMMARY

Many hardware systems are operating close to their physics limits of performance. Where this is not the case then they are operating on the limits of affordability and cannot be improved greatly without significant extra cost. In this environment there is strong motivation to improve signal processing methods in order to achieve greater performance from current hardware. Alternatively signal-processing methods may be used to allow lower performance hardware to be deployed in order to achieve existing performance at a lower cost. Currently these signal-processing enhancements are carried out on an ad-hoc basis to solve specific programme problems as they arise. The objective of this proposal is to carry out a more coherent programme of signal-processing-based improvements.

MILITARY BENEFITS

If sensor functionality or affordability can be improved by software additions to existing hardware then clearly the resultant capability will benefit the military. Also the hidden benefit of having a flexible software-based system capable of rapid update and evolution should not be overlooked.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVE

To address sensor resolution limits, by looking at superresolution methods to determine whether smaller apertures and narrow bandwidth systems can replace existing sensors. The robustness of the improvement factors will be researched.
To address a key limitation of existing systems, the inability adequately to suppress clutter. A number of signal processing methods have emerged that need further refinement. These include both slow time and fast time space-time adaptive processing (STAP) methods.
To address the problem of the influence of multipath on tracking performance. Signal processing methods, such as blind signal separation, superresolution and fast time STAP are emerging as techniques for overcoming these problems.

RESEARCH OUTLINE

This programme will include an over-arching study to determine the current limits on system performance and the state of the art in terms of mitigation methods. Both hardware and signal processing based solutions will be reviewed, a full loss budget for the signal processing chain will be developed in order to identify inefficient algorithms etc. Where significant losses are identified, research will be carried out to determine the potential for reducing them. This could lead to proposals for substantial work in following years of the DTC.

The first year activities will contain a study into the use of superresolution techniques and their robustness in the real world. The study will determine the impact on radar antenna size and cost as well as performance improvements that may be possible by utilising this signal processing method.

Multipath mitigation methods will be modelled and, in particular, the effect of applying these techniques on a tracker will be determined. This programme will benefit from the ability to access real data from MESAR2.

Overall during year one the programme will develop a list of further research topics that will need to be addressed alongside a list of the potential gains that can be achieved from pursuing these projects. These gains will be measured in both performance improvements and cost savings in hardware.

CO-ORDINATION WITH EXISTING / PREVIOUS RESEARCH

This research will make maximum use of internal funded programmes in this area. It will also endeavour to align itself with related CRP programmes. Clearly if a DTC is established in the area of signal processing then significant alignment could occur but it is the intention of this programme to remain very close to the problem of transducer enhancement via signal processing rather than do much fundamental algorithm development.

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