EDF-2021-SENS-R-RADAR: Advanced radar technologies
Nowadays, wide range of sensors, which are based on radar technologies, are applied during military operations. Radars are commonly used for supporting multi-domain operations: incl. air and air defence missions, as well as ground/maritime operations. Those technologies are crucial for space/airborne based, as well as ground/maritime based surveillance systems. Radar technologies are also used in various sub-systems of other purpose (e.g. engagement or logistics) military equipment.
Recent advances in digital signal processing and computing, radiofrequency (RF) and microelectronic technology have paved the way for the proliferation of active and passive radar technologies in a number of military applications. Management of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum has also become more important year after year, and the usage of communications and internet of things (IoT) applications – which require more and more EM spectrum – generate increasing challenges during military operations. In addition, we must pay high attention to the strong technology push for the development of modular, smaller and state-of-the-art sensor applications, which are able to provide more functionality for the user in one device, are significantly less energy intensive, and can meet more operational needs.
Modern surveillance sensors have to comply with an unprecedented wide spread of operational requirements. A list follows hereby, which is not exhaustive:
- Provide steady and reliable surveillance (detection, tracking, classification, identification) everywhere, at every time, at various environmental conditions – for every domain, with guaranteed low level of false alarm probability;
- Addressing various types of standing installations and moving platforms (ground based, shipborne, airborne, space borne), both manned and unmanned;
- Covering broad spectrum of applications:
- Civilian, e.g. ATC and weather forecast and monitoring, humanitarian (e.g. immigration, crisis management, like disasters, natural and caused by mankind), platforms’ autonomy, space situational awareness, etc.;
Military information superiority assurance: airspace, maritime and land traffic control; radio navigation; localization of our blue/red forces and resources; autonomous platforms; precision guided weapons; electronic warfare (EW).
State-of-the-art military radar solutions must face challenges of modern battlefield, for instance:
- Defence against very low RCS targets (e.g. fast moving–fast manoeuvring, drones, hypersonic threats, stealth aircraft);
- Detect long (strategic) range tactical ballistic missile (TBM) since boost phase, and wide spread of engagement means: rocket, artillery, RAM, loitering munitions;
- Underground inspection, through the wall/vegetables surveillance;
- Space surveillance and tracking: localization, classification and mitigation of space debris, enemy’s space assets;
- Able to operate in a limited EM spectrum resource (which today is a commodity) also complying with international and security regulations;
- To be open to operate as multi-role (radiolocation, communications, EW – electronic attack, non-cooperative target recognition, radar imaging etc.) systems;
- To be resilient to harsh EM environmental conditions, with extensive jamming;
- Go beyond the extraction of usual information to get intelligence from the measurements;
- Use common/interoperable hardware (HW)/Software (SW) architecture and signal processing to support multi domain operation;
- Cooperation and EM compatibility with other systems within a common recognized picture (battlefield situational awareness);
Coordinate and operate sensor management online/on the fly for joint improved performance.
Proposals should address the development of new concepts, technological blocks, sub- systems and/or systems in in order to realize a new class of sensors with remarkable sustainable characteristics in all domains (sea, land and air). They should include active and passive radars or radar sub-systems, as well as new system architectures of hardware building blocks and software modules designed to enable build up mission specific complex radar sensors and multi-functional radar solutions – eligibly in compliance with European Defence Agency’s CapTech Radiofrequency Sensors Technologies’ Overarching Strategic Research Agenda and its results (including TBB in-depth analysis and their roadmaps), as well as previous EU funded activities.
These aimed achievements should be applicable in different kinds of active or passive radar systems (unification between different kinds of platforms desirable) and need to be able to support future military operations and to cope with new generation of unpredictable and unimaginable threats. For this reason, these activities should match with the following main abilities:
- The ability to provide integrated and modular system approach for military specific solutions;
- The ability to increase integration of more functions into one system;
- The ability to increase the proliferation of radar-based sensor applications for wide scale of military operations;
- The ability to enable versatile deployment for the large spectrum of military operations;
- The ability to enable high operational availability (e.g. by fault tolerance techniques and relative technologies adoption);
- The ability to apply radar either as a main element or sub-system of one complex equipment regardless of the operational context;
- The ability to use a radar as a node in a more complex network;
- The ability to primarily enable efficient software (HW desired as well) upgrades during life cycle;
The ability to provide new system test & evaluation (T&E) methods based on rf and/or digital scenario emulators/simulators.
The proposals must cover the following activities as referred in article 10.3 of the EDF Regulation, not excluding downstream activities eligible for research actions if deemed useful to reach the objectives:
- Activities aiming to create, underpin and improve knowledge, products and technologies, including disruptive technologies, which can achieve significant effects in the area of defence;
- Activities aiming to increase interoperability and resilience, including secured production and exchange of data, to master critical defence technologies, to strengthen the security of supply or to enable the effective exploitation of results for defence products and technologies;
- Studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions;
- The design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment.
In particular, the proposals must address the following activities:
(1) Activities aiming to create, underpin and improve knowledge and technologies, including disruptive technologies, which can achieve significant effects in the area of defence:
- Definition and analysis of technology trends and implementation opportunities (desired final parameters and functionalities in particular) of state-of-the-art and future technologies such as: e.g. RFSOC (SIP), compressive sensing for imaging or/and MTI, MIMO mode, polarimetry, machine learning for supporting radar signal processing, recognition and classification;
- Deep analysis of theoretical basis for a scope of the proposed project.
(2) Activities aiming to increase interoperability and resilience, including secured production and exchange of data, to master critical defence technologies, to strengthen the security of supply or to enable the effective exploitation of results for defence products and technologies:
- Operational requirements and military usage scenarios, identification of operational benefits and sizing requirements of technological breakthroughs;
- Definition of security, cyber and interoperability needs for future challenges;
- Basis for common standards definition.
(3) Preliminary/feasibility activities and studies to explore the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes, services and solutions:
- Definition and analysis of behaviour and detectability of targets;
- Definition of EW functionalities and technology in radar and communication band;
- Definition of cognitive radar, digital radar and waveforms for increased deployment versatility;
- Analysis regarding the use of software defined radar in order to improve the flexibility of future solutions;
- Definition of CONOPS (concept of operations).
(4) Design of a tangible or intangible defence component/sub-system, system or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such design has been developed which may include partial tests for risk reduction in representative environment:
- Top level sensors specifications and high level design (including adaptive digital beam forming, transmitted power, bandwidth, spectral purity, power consumption, production cost…);
- Definition of the functional and physical architectures of the transceiver building block (interfaces, partitioning, type of semiconductor process, packaging…);
- Definition and development of waveforms/data exchange (standardization);
- Development of operational capabilities based on distributed, multi-static configuration (incl. active/passive (both collaborative and non-cooperative illuminators)/mixed mode), or new application methods;
- Development of integrated solutions for time synchronization and multi sensor data fusion (e.g. Concerning time synchronization and platforms geo-localization, especially in GNSS denied zone), data storage and system resource management;
- Development of integrated solutions for microwave high-power generation, for robust and highly digitised receivers, for radar signal generation and its distribution, for adaptive distributed beamforming, for multi-functional array transmitters; a new paradigm by the development of the so-called “chiplet” approach – an integrated circuit block that is specifically designed to work with other similar chiplets to form larger chips that are more complex. This approach can also be used for SOC (i.e. with integration on the same semiconductor substrate) or SIP (i.e. with heterogeneous integration);
- Reduction of PCBs by using hybrid packaging techniques for different semiconductor technologies integration;
- Definition and development of security, cyber and interoperability needs for future challenges;
- Test case as a basis for demonstration, simulation and prototyping;
- Integrated and aligned operation demonstration;
- (cognitive and/or machine learning based) sensor data fusion and complex object/target classification;
- Risk mitigation;
- Presentation of results and execution of a demonstration through one or more test
In addition, proposals could cover both HW and SW solutions, of various integration scale (materials, components, sub-systems and systems) in the representative areas as follows:
- Detection, tracking and recognition/identification (including SAR/ISAR/3D ISAR – passive and active imaging techniques) of new and challenging targets, such as made according to stealth philosophy, of low radar cross section, small (drones), fast moving and manoeuvrable (e.g. hypersonic missiles, UAVs);
- Contribution to kill assessment functionality;
- Intelligent radar decoys;
- Intelligent and cognitive resource management;
- Multi-platform, multi-static and multi-functional RF systems for air defence and battlefield (in all domains: air and space, land and maritime) surveillance;
- Specific radar applications, such as e.g. navigational equipment (for airspace management, as well as various platforms situational awareness), missile/artillery munitions radar homing, battlefield radars, ground and vegetation penetrating radars, through-the-wall radars, dual polarization weather radar etc., supported by disruptive technologies for increased system capabilities;
- Electronic warfare capabilities (both defensive and offensive, e.g. low probability of intercept, effective jamming suppression, jamming of netted sensors etc.);
- System maintenance concept and high operational availability (e.g. by health and usage monitoring system (HUMS) and self-healing techniques);
- Design that enables continuous upgrades during the life of the system (e.g. using new software defined radar (SDR) technology);
- Development of system T&E methods.
A preliminary plan (roadmap) for the potential utilization by subsequent development phases should also be presented, with a special focus on the capability needs of Member States, as well as expected improvements in comparison with existing solutions.