Military Embedded Systems

Radar-system performance in half the size: DARPA's goal with "BLiP" program


October 26, 2022

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Radar-system performance in half the size: DARPA's goal with "BLiP" program
Graphic courtesy DARPA.

ARLINGTON, Va. The goal of the recently announced Beyond Linear Processing (BLiP) program from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), says the agency, is to apply innovative signal-processing methods to enable the same radar performance achieved on large platforms today but on much smaller sea, air, and ground platforms.

According to the news release on the BLiP program, the agency intends to leverage high-power computer processing to explore new, nonlinear, and iterative signal-processing techniques that would then lead to lighter, smaller, and less expensive -- but equally capable -- radar systems.

DARPA officials say that BLiP will address the current immaturity of nonlinear and iterative signal-processing methods: Over the two-year intended span of the program, end-to-end radar signal-processing chains will be developed, analyzed, implemented, and tested, first through non-real-time laboratory testing and eventually in real-time implementation and full-scale field testing using an operational National Weather Service radar. 

Frank Robey, BLiP program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office, said of the program: “A lot of radar improvements over the past 30 years have focused on growing the size of the aperture for greater sensitivity or increasing transmitter power. Those are important, but if we want to shrink aperture size by 50% and still get the same radar performance then we need to disrupt the linear signal-processing paradigm. With the tremendous increases in computer processing power available today, we can take a fresh look at radar signal-processing and explore iterative, leap-ahead techniques.”

Full program details for submitting an abstract and/or proposal are available at the BLiP Broad Agency Announcement solicitation from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

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