Military Embedded Systems

Lockheed Martin FOPEN recon radar with moving object detection successfully tested


October 24, 2012

Brandon Lewis

Technology Editor

Embedded Computing Design

Lockheed Martin FOPEN recon radar with moving object detection successfully tested
Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

WASHINGTON – A Lockheed Martin Foliage-Penetrating (FOPEN) radar technology with the ability to detect slow-moving objects has been approved for further testing. Incorporating the Ground/Dismounted-Moving Target Indication (GMTI/DMTI) technology into a Tactical Reconnaissance and Counter-Concealment-Enabled Radar (TRACER), a U.S. Army test range team displayed the system’s ability to consistently detect moving vehicles and troops that were foliage obscured from a 300-foot tower and ground level. The system will now be integrated into a modular pod for testing on Predator-B or Blackhawk helicopter platforms.

The TRACER GMTI component utilizes moving target’s Doppler radar signature in order to delineate it from other surface objects. Based on the Lockheed Foliage-Penetrating (FOPEN) radar introduced in 2005, TRACER is a low-frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) capable of providing real-time, high-quality tactical ground imagery through a number of atmospheric obstructions using fine-resolution UHF radar and a broad range for single-pass and multi-pass change detection images. Combined with accurate SAR maps, TRACER images will be able to overlay GMTI tracks to provide easy interpretation of areas of interest.

“Integrating MTI into our foliage penetrating capability provides an unprecedented level of situational awareness,” said Lockheed’s Vice President of C4ISR Systems Jim Quinn. “By combining these two capabilities we offer analysts the ability to accurately locate virtually any surface target from a standoff range, in any type of weather.”

TRACER has flown hundred of operational missions and is currently deployed in U.S. Southern Command counter-terrorism, humanitarian, and disaster relief efforts.


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