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Growing requirements for Man portable Radars for counterterrorism, counter UAV, maritime surveillance and battlefield applications

Radar, is an electromagnetic sensor used for detecting, locating, tracking, and recognizing objects of various kinds at considerable distances. It operates by transmitting electromagnetic energy toward objects, commonly referred to as targets, and observing the echoes returned from them.  Energy is emitted in various frequencies and wavelengths from large wavelength radio waves to shorter wavelength gamma rays.


Radar originally was developed to meet the needs of the military services, and it continues to have critical applications for national defense purposes. For instance, radars are used to detect aircraft, missiles, artillery and mortar projectiles, ships, land vehicles, and satellites. In addition, radar controls and guides weapons; allows one class of target to be distinguished from another; aids in the navigation of aircraft and ships; and assists in reconnaissance and damage assessment.


Radars are used by armed forces for surveillance, to find targets and track their movements, and direct other weapons or countermeasures against them. Military radars are also used for navigation and as weather radars. Radars  are used by the Navy (coastal radars, ship-based radars), Air Force (weather navigation radar, airborne radar, precision approach radar), Army (perimeter surveillance radars, long-range surveillance radars, fixed and movable land radars), and in space applications.


Modern ground-based radar systems are transportable by personnel as well as by vehicles. Man-portable radar is a lightweight surveillance radar system that does not require vehicle support to transport or operate. Man-portable radar was developed to introduce radar to remote areas where vehicle support is not feasible.


Military man-portable radar systems are used for monitoring, tracking, missile control, and surveillance.  They are primarily meant for executing complex military operations. Advances in technology has allowed the miniaturization of radar systems which has created new application opportunities for such devices. The focus remains on making such systems more compact, and user-friendly as well as achieve greater mobility.


Man-portable radar technology

Various radars, including weather radars, are becoming more portable thanks to solid-state power, which enables systems to be designed with smaller footprints. Radar transmitters once relied on large vacuum tubes along with their associated full-sized power supplies to power their pulses. The large sizes and weights of these components limited the portability of radar systems in the battlefield. However, the tide is steadily changing with increased use of solid-state semiconductor technologies such as gallium-nitride (GaN) transistors on silicon (Si) and silicon-carbide (SiC) substrates.


Newer radar systems designs are taking advantage of the power and efficiency of solid-state transmitters to achieve portability without sacrificing performance. By leveraging device technologies such as SiC and GaN, transistor amplifiers can provide the peak output powers for long-distance target detection with high resolution while running on battery power.


As solid-state device technologies gain in power and frequency, high radar output power can be reached with much smaller devices and system packages, making true portability possible. The same radar system that provides a warning from a distance can sit alongside the troops.

Air Surveillance radar

One of the larger and “more visible” of these portable radar systems is the AN/TPS-78, a transistorized S-band air-surveillance radar system from Northrop Grumman. The Air Force uses the Doppler radar system for long-range detection, even with the system’s capabilities of rapid assembly and disassembly. It can detect high- and low-altitude targets even when they are surrounded by heavy ground clutter and sea clutter.


By operating at S-band frequencies, the system can work with smaller antennas and electronics than at lower frequencies (longer wavelengths). Along with the antenna, transmit electronics, and receive electronics, the full system can be housed in a compact ISO shelter that’s then transported in a single C-130 aircraft or helicopter and deployed in less than 30 min. It can also be deployed by means of a single all-wheel-drive vehicle.


China Unveils New Multipurpose Radar That Can Be Carried by Single Soldier in April 2021

Recently, new unmanned aerial vehicles such as drone swarms, kamikaze and AI-powered drones, have shown rapidly increasing widespread use among governments, and large and small military groups. The alarming trend has brought new security challenges as the devices are difficult for air defense systems to accurately identify.


The demand for countermeasures against civilian drones has reached a new level, as these devices are often used by terrorist groups and other offenders because of their mobility, increased availability and low cost. Consumer level or home built unmanned aerial vehicles are difficult to detect or intercept, even by high-tech short-range air defense missile systems due to background noise and their small size.


China and other countries, including Russia, the US, the UK, Italy and Japan, are known as leading developers of drone and anti-drone technologies. In the US alone, there are several programs related to this field, including the Gremlin project and studies on computer-brain interface implementation.


China at the 9th World Radar Expo presented its newest YLC-48 portable multipurpose reconnaissance radar, said to be able to detect low-altitude, small and slower unmanned aerial vehicles, even in conditions of high noise impact close to the ground, the Global Times reported. According to the No.14 Research Institute, part of state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), the device, dubbed “terminator of drones,” is capable of locating and tracking a target “from any angle” and in all weather conditions.


Another innovative feature is its small size, allowing the YLC-48 to be carried by one soldier – something that significantly distinguishes it from other devices of its kind. The defense system is equipped with a large number of digital integrated circuits, enabling the YLC-48 to be rapidly installed on all kinds of lightweight weapons platforms and easily dismantled.


Man-portable Ground Surveillance Radar (GSR)

One example of Radars is Ground Surveillance Radar (GSR), a type of surface-search radar that detect and recognize moving targets including personnel, vehicles, watercraft and low flying, rotary wing aircraft. The basic operation of a radar system involves transmitting a high-frequency signal (usually a pulsed signal) towards the location of an expected target and receiving signals reflected from said target. By performing signal processing on these radar returns, information can be extracted regarding the target, its position, and its speed.


GSR systems can be used in a variety of applications, including urban warfare maneuvers, covert stakeout surveillance, counterterrorism, maritime surveillance, border patrol and security, observation and protection of remote areas, airport security, nuclear facility security, and tactical battlefield applications.


GSRs are used to search for enemy activity on critical chokepoints, mobility corridors, and likely infiltration routes. They are used to observe point targets such as bridges, road junctions, or narrow passages to detect movements. GSR systems can extend the surveillance capability of patrols by surveying surrounding areas for enemy movement, and survey target areas immediately after an attack to detect enemy activity and determine the effectiveness of the attack. Radars can assist in visual observation of targets partially hidden by haze, smoke, fog, or bright sunlight, and can confirm targets sensed by other types of sensors.


GSR systems have a few weaknesses that must be overcome by using other types of sensors in conjunction with the radar. Radars require line-of-site to the target area, and their performance is degraded by heavy rain, snow, dense foliage, and high winds. Also, they are active emitters, and are subject to enemy detection and electronic countermeasures (ECM). Finally, radars are unable to distinguish between friend and foe, only able to detect and classify moving targets by type.


One is the AN/PPS-5A/B is fairly representative of a ground-based surveillance radar, operating over a fairly narrow bandwidth in the frequency range from 8.8 to 9.0 GHz with a pulse repetition frequency (PRF) of 4 kpulses/s. The system transmits pulses with 1 kW peak power and achieves ranges of about 6 km for detecting personnel and 10 km for detecting vehicles. The system is built for U.S. military customers by a number of different suppliers, including Eaton Corp., Telephonics Corp., and the Thales Group.


With the AN/PPS-5A/B system, for example, systems based on magnetron tube power sources and weighing 125 lb. have largely been replaced by systems using solid-state transmit amplifiers and weighing only 70 lb., with a slight tradeoff in transmit power. This is considered a man-portable radar system that has been packed in waterproof enclosures for dropping into locations with infantry via parachute.

Blighter B202 Mk 2

As an example, the B202 Mk 2 radar from Blighter Surveillance Systems Ltd. is a compact radar unit weighing only about 35 lbs. and measuring a mere (approx..) 18.7 × 17.4 × 6.2 in. (474 × 442 × 157 mm). Its weight is about 15 kg and is therefore truly man portable, about the weight of a machine gun and less than half the weight of other man-portable radars.


Blighter B202 Mk 2 can operate off small batteries, unlike others in its class which are really vehicle bounded. Blighter B202 Mk 2 is phase coherent and has very low probability of intercept due to its very low peak power. Designed to operate about 12 hours on 12-V vehicle batteries, the medium-range ground surveillance radar uses electronic scanning (e-scan) methods to detect moving vehicles and personnel via simultaneous Doppler and frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) scans.


Blighter B202 Mk 2 also includes high-quality Doppler audio and is a “Multi-Mode and Multi-Role” radar. The modes including radar modes for quick scan (‘Vortex Fast-Scan’) with audio for fast search and long dwell modes small scan for high probability of detection of crawlers also can be used with Doppler audio for target recognition. Most suited to covert ops and border surveillance as multiple Blighter radars can coordinate in ad-hoc networks and sequence their radar emissions to form border surveillance over very long lines of control (‘Blighter MultiWatch’)



SpotterRF Compact Surveillance Radar (SpotterRF) is a new class of surveillance radar called Compact Surveillance Radar that provides range and azimuth measurements of moving objects. It tracks moving people and vehicles from 500 to 1500 meters away in a small, lightweight package. Different variants of the system range from 3 to 5 pounds.


SpotterRF systems are easy to use and only require 30–60 minutes (according to SpotterRF’s marketing material) to train personnel on how to use the system. SpotterRF systems can also integrate with programs such as Exacqvision, Milestone, VideoNext, RaptorX, and Google Earth for an effective and easy visual experience. Combined with SpotterRF’s radar management system, NetworkedIO, systems can actively cue cameras on moving targets spotted by the system. Compact Surveillance Radar (CSR) applies the technology used in the telecommunications industry to reduce the size, weight and cost of radar.



Man-Portable Radar Systems Market in Military Industry 2018 To Rise at 10% CAGR Through 2023

As per the latest report published by Market Research Future (MRFR), the global military man-portable radar system market will surpass a valuation of USD 4,700 Mn by the year 2023, reflecting an above-average CAGR during the forecast period (2017-2023).


The demand for portable radar systems has continued to grow as counties all over the world aim to improve their defense monitoring capabilities. Factors such as rising defense budget and growing concerns over border security due to socio-political disputes among countries in various parts of the world are driving the demand for various type military products including man-portable radar system. In addition, technological advancements in radar systems is having a positive impact on the market. As warfare technologies evolve, military products become more versatile and advanced. However, the high-cost of military man-portable radar systems may have deterring impact of its market.


Major Players are Thales Group, BAE Systems PLC., Telefunken Racoms, Leonardo S.p.A, ASELSaN A.S., Saab AB, Blighter Surveillance Systems Ltd., Elbit Systems Ltd., FLIR Systems Inc., Harris Corporation and SpotterRF



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