Defence has funded development of an advanced new passive radar technology which has proved very effective, but remains to find an operational application.
The passive radar has been refined by South Australian firm Daronmont Technologies through a $7.2 million grant from the Defence Innovation Hub in conjunction with Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) and the Army.
The idea was to develop DST research into a viable capability for ADF use. Passive radar uses existing radio emissions from radio and TV stations which can be detected to track a range of air and surface targets in real time, whilst not emitting any signals.
“We have system which consists of the receiver, the algorithms, all aspects of the technology. We combine this with a C2 display system and mission planning tools which can be easily transported and set it up,” Daronmont’s Lee Stanley told ADBR at LAND FORCES 2021.
“We provide a full 360 degrees surveillance picture without transmitting. It’s completely passive.”
This is a best suited to surveillance and complementing other sensors, rather than targeting effectors.
“It provides a very accurate surveillance picture,” Stanley said. “We include an ADSB receiver that allows an operator to correlate tracks giving confidence in the radar’s performance.
“It’s a receive-only surveillance radar,” he added. “There is no radiation hazard for operators. It’s covert. There are no frequency licensing issues. You can operate it anywhere you want to provide discreet surveillance.”
So why hasn’t Defence adopted this technology?
“That’s the challenge – matching innovation projects to ADF capability requirements and acquisition strategies needs to remain a focus of the Defence Innovation eco-system,” Stanley said, adding that the passive radar was ready for production and operations and, that Daronmont is currently exploring export opportunities.
“The radar has tremendous application right now, particularly in counter-air and counter-UAS,” he said.