IAI Unveiled a Passive Radar

ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries Group, unveiled this week a new Passive Coherent Location Radar System, enables the creation of an air situation using non-cooperative transmitters. It detects and tracks aerial threats based on target reflection from FM or Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) towers. The reflections are received by one or a network of antennas, providing 3D real-time tracking of multiple targets in congested airborne traffic.

The PCL system installation can include one sensor or a cluster of sensors for redundancy and improved coverage. The sites are connected to the central PCL command and control processing unit via a dedicated data link. General Manager of ELTA Intelligence, Communications and EW division, Adi Dulberg, said that the PCL system detects and classifies aerial risks, “without unveiling the locator.”

Very small footprint

Passive coherent location systems (sometimes called ‘Passive Radar’) systems are a variant of Bistatic Radar in which the reciever and the transmitter are separate. But the PCL variant does not employ any transmitter at all – it exploit ‘existing illuminators’ as their sources of radar transmission. These sources can be analogue FM radio, cellular phone base stations, digital audio broadcast (DAB) and other sources.

Passive radar systems offer several key benefits. They are hard to detect by conventional means: Electronic sensors cannot pick them up because they do not transmit their own signals. They have no transmitters generating heat, so they cannot be detected thermal signatures, and they are small and quite difficult to spot. According to Visiongain rtesearch firm, the global passive radar market is projected to grow from US$ 2,324 million in 2020 to US$ 4,313 million by 2030, at a CAGR of 6.38% between 2020 and 2030.

 

Needed a Radar to distinguish between Humans and Animals

The Directorate of Defense Research & Development in The Israeli Ministry of Defense (“Mafat”) announced its new competition, MAFAT Radar Challenge, for the development of capability to accurately distinguish between humans and animals in radar tracks? The winner will receive $40,000. The competition’s objective is to explore automated, novel solutions that will enable classification for humans and animals with a high degree of confidence and accuracy.

While some object types are easily distinguishable from one another by traditional signal processing techniques, distinguishing between humans and animals, which are non-rigid objects, tracked in doppler-pulse radars, is a difficult task. Today, the task of classifying radar-tracked, non-rigid objects is mostly done by human operators and requires the integration of radar and optical systems.

Why is this a difficult task?

Classification of radar-tracked objects is traditionally done by using well-studied radar signal features. For example, the Doppler effect (Doppler shift) and the radar cross-section (RCS) of an object can be utilized for the classification task, however, from the radar system’s perspective, looking at the tracked objects through the lens of those traditional features, humans and animals appear very similar.

Microwave signals travel at the speed of light but still obey the Doppler effect. Microwave radars receive a Doppler frequency shifted reflection from a moving object. Frequency is shifted higher for approaching objects and lower for receding objects. The Doppler effect is a strong feature for some classification tasks, such as separating moving vehicles from animals. However, humans and animals are typically moving at the same range of velocities.

The radar cross-section (RCS) is a measure of how detectable an object is by radar. An object reflects a limited amount of radar energy back to the source, and this reflected energy is used to calculate the RCS of an object. A larger RCS indicates that an object is more easily detected by radars. Multiple factors contribute to the RCS of an object, including its size, material, shape, orientation, and more.

The RCS is a classic feature for classifying tracked objects. However, it turns out that the RCS of humans is similar to the RCS of many animals; thus, RCS alone is not a good enough separating feature as well. The task of automatically distinguishing between humans and animals based on their radar signature is, therefore, a challenging task.

The objective of the competition is to explore whether creative approaches and techniques, including deep convolutional neural networks, recurrent neural networks, transformers, classical machine learning, classical signal processing, and more, can provide better solutions for this difficult task.

Mafat is interested in approaches that are inspired by non-radar fields, including computer vision, audio analysis, sequential data analysis, and so on. It provides real-world data (I/Q Matrix), gathered from diverse geographical locations, different times, sensors, and qualities (high- and low-signal to noise ratio—SNR). The competitor’s mission is to identify whether the segment of the tracked object is an animal or a human.

US Army Chose RADA’s Radars for Counter-Drone Systems

Above: Rafael’s Counter-drone system incorporates RADA’s Tactical Radar

The US Army has selected the tactical radar of RADA Electronic Industries from Netanya, Israel, for its Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-sUAS) systems. The Army has defined four C-sUAS categories: fixed/semi-fixed systems, mounted/mobile system, handheld systems, and command & control.

RADA’s radars are the incumbent radar system in the L-MADIS platform which was selected as the mounted/mobile system, and are incorporated in part of the recommended fixed solutions, along with other fixed solutions deployed across the US. While not relevant to handheld systems, RADA’s radars are compatible with the recommended command and control systems.

Next-generation Tactical Radars

Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO, said that the US Army preferred not only the most up-to-date existing technologies, but those new and emerging technologies currently in development. “We are in advanced development stages of our next-generation tactical radars that aim to address future challenges at highly affordable performance-to-price points.”

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), in FY2021, the Department of Defense (DOD) plans to spend at least $404 million on counter-UAS (C-UAS) research and development and at least $83 million on C-UAS procurement. In December 2019, DOD streamlined the Department’s various counter-small UAS (C-sUAS) programs, creating a the Joint C-sUAS Office (JCO). On June 25, 2020, Maj. Gen Sean Gainey, director of the JCO, announced that seven C-sUAS defensive systems and one standardized command and control system are to be further developed.

How to Tackle Drones

C-UAS can employ a number of methods to detect the presence of hostile or unauthorized UAS. The first is using electro-optical, infrared, or acoustic sensors to detect a target by its visual, heat, or sound signatures, respectively. A second method is to use radar systems. However, these methods are not always capable of detecting small UAS due to the limited signatures and size of such UAS.

A third method is identifying the wireless signals used to control the UAS, commonly using radio frequency sensors. These methods can be—and often are—combined to provide a more effective, layered detection capability. Once detected, the UAS may be engaged or disabled. Electronic warfare “jamming” can interfere with a UAS’s communications link to its operator.

Jamming devices can be as light as 5 to 10 pounds and therefore man-portable, or as heavy as several hundred pounds and in fixed locations or mounted on vehicles. UAS can also be neutralized or destroyed using guns, nets, directed energy, traditional air defense systems, or even trained animals such as eagles. DOD is developing and procuring a number of different C-UAS technologies to try to ensure a robust defensive capability.

RADA began the Production of Radars in The US

RADA Electronic Industries from Netanya, Israel, announced the manufacture of the first radar in its United States-based production line in Germantown, Maryland. To mark this milestone, Maryland Congressman David Trone visited the facility to welcome the new RADA employees and celebrated the delivery of its MHR radar to the US Marine Corps.

Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO, said that the US subsidiary has enabled RADA “to Americanize and adapt our technologies for the needs of the US military. Our radar systems are already embedded in the US Army and US Marine Corps’ current SHORAD (Short Range Air Defense) solutions, and we look forward to further empowering US defense agencies with our active protection solutions.”

Rada has developed a family of compact software-defined Tactical Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radars based on Active Electronically Scanned Array antennas. They offer a wide range of operational missions: Vehicle Active Protection Systems, Hostile Fire Detection, Counter-UAV, all-threat air surveillance, 3D perimeter surveillance, and more.

Arbe Raised $32M for New Automotive 4D Radar Chipset

Arbe from Tel-aviv, announced the closing of $32 million in Round B funding for its 4D Imaging Radar Chipset Solution. Arbe will use the funding to move to full production of its automotive radar chipset, which generates an image 100 times more detailed than any other solution on the market today.

Founded in 2015 by an elite team of semiconductor engineers, radar specialists, and data scientists, Arbe has secured $55 million from leading investors, including Canaan Partners Israel, iAngels, 360 Capital Partners, O.G. Tech Ventures, Catalyst CEL, AI Alliance, BAIC Capital, MissionBlue Capital, and OurCrowd. Arbe is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and has offices in the United States and China.

The Tel-aviv based company has developed a 4D Imaging Radar Chipset Solution, enabling high-resolution sensing for ADAS and autonomous vehicles. Arbe’s technology produces detailed images, separates, identifies, and tracks objects in high resolution in both azimuth and elevation in a long range and a wide field of view, and complemented by AI-based post-processing and SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping).

Its Phoenix radar chip supports more than 2000 virtual channels, tracking hundreds of objects simultaneously in a wide field of view at long-range with 30 frames per second of full scan. The company believes its solution pose a low cost alternative to the current LiDAR sensors in ADAS Systems and the future Autonomous Vehicles.

Google Pixel 4 Smartphone Includes Infineon’s Radar Chip

The announcement of Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4XL smartphones in October 15, 2019 may not be a huge event for the smartphone industry, but for radars based chips – it is a major change. For the first time, a complete radar in chip is embedded into a smartphone allowing new type of applications and 3D gesture control of the device. To achieve this, Goggle went to Europe, to acquire Infineon’s new BGT60TR13C radar chip.

Infineon has developed a 60 GHz radar chip, based ob its earlier version, the 24 GHz BGT24MTR radar chip. Using an integrated antenna system, BGT60TR13C radar chip appears on a very small area (5 x 6.5 mm) coupled with low power consumption. It senses the presence and movement of people and objects with high precision or measures distances and speeds in an angular scan of 120° and distance ranging from few millimeters up to 5 meters. This chip is the base for Google’s Soli technology and has now been integrated for the first time into a smartphone, so that it can also be controlled by gestures.

“This is a revolution in the human-machine-interaction,” said Andreas Urschitz, Division President for Power Management and Multimarket at Infineon Technologies. “At Infineon, we are furthermore working on the fusion of multiple sensors to simplify interaction and increase the usefulness of the devices.”  According to Mordor Intelligence report, the radar sensors market was valued at USD 8.6 billion in 2018, and it is expected to reach USD 22 billion by 2024, registering a CAGR of approximately 20%. The main drivers for this market are the rapidly increasing automation, such as autonomous driving and the Industry 4.0. Until now nobody considered smartphones as a driver for this market.

Tactical Radars of RADA Gain Momentum

RADA Electronic Industries from NETANYA, Israel, is emerging as a Radar company following series of orders for its tactical radar systems. During June 2019, the company received $7 million in new orders, most of them to be delivered in 2019. Out of these new orders, five million are for RADA’s software-defined AESA  (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radars for counter UAV and vehicle protection.

Two million are follow-on orders for RADA’s legacy avionics, including digital video recorders, core avionics units, and ongoing maintenance services. In total, the accumulated value of new orders for the first half of 2019 is $26 Million. It also includes approximately $5 million new orders of AESA radars aimed to be embedded in counter-UAV systems.

Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO, said that radars are the company’s growth engine. “The solid momentum of new orders, especially for our tactical radars for the maneuver force, is ensuring the 2019 revenues forecast of over $40 million which implies growth of over 40% year-over-year, driven primarily by sales of tactical radars. It also gives us confidence that growth will continue in 2020.”

RADA’s Compact and Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radars are software-defined, AESA, configurable radar platforms, in a small form factor aimed to be used in a variety of missions. Among them detecting of all types of aerial vehicles (including UAVs of all groups) and missiles, rockets and mortars. Active Protection Solutions for Combat Vehicles and Hostile Fire Location Systems by detecting and tracking Rockets, Artillery, Mortars, ATGMs, RPGs, Low-QE Rockets and Small Arms, and border and perimeter surveillance systems.