A British company has developed an innovative radar for small UAV tracking

New radar for small drone tracking

A British company has developed an innovative radar capable of tracking small and slow-moving Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).

During a two-week sensor trial in Scotland, Cambridge-based Plextek Consulting tested the system developed as a part of cooperation with the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) UAS R&D Programme.

The system proved capable of differentiating radar returns from other moving objects, such as swaying trees and flying birds, and distinguishing between different UAS types – for example fixed-wing UAS and quad-copters.

“Working with DSTL has been a great opportunity to prove and highlight the performance of our patented radar technology, with clear results revealing there is an innovative, cost-effective way to detect low-cost UAS,” said Paul Martin, chief technology officer at Plextek. “Once fully developed, this can be applied with both homeland defence and commercial domains, by the provision of local airspace monitoring and enhancement to the safety of UAS operation.”

In the next stages, Plextek wants to further its advanced signal processing techniques and develop a solution that would combine benefits of an electronically scanned radar with advanced signal and image processing methods to detect, track, recognise and identify a non-cooperative airborne target.

The company hopes to find partners to help them integrate the technology with other sensors to eventually provide a complete air surveillance solution.

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