Radar and Measurement Technology
Mobile Measurement Platforms

As a developer and operator of several mobile sensor platforms, SPC has developed tools for pre-mission planning, situational awareness during measurements, and post-mission analysis. We have also pallatized our radar systems for improved field measurement flexibility.

Measurement Planning
Measurement planning tools determine the effects of sensor-target geometry on visibility, detectability, and target coverage. SPC has performed measurement planning for ground vehicles, helicopters, airplanes, and satellites. In order to effectively make measurements from a mobile platform, the effects of platform position and motion must be understood and taken into account. Coverage times, target ranges, and viewing geometries are all important factors in the development of effective measurement and test plans. The following outlines some of SPC's areas of expertise in mobile-platform measurement planning.
  • Ground Vehicles—SPC has planned and executed experiments using its radar truck to simulate airborne SAR and forward-looking Interferometric SAR.
  • Helicopters—SPC has planned and performed helicopter-based SAR measurements requiring flight path planning and radar waveform planning.
  • Aircraft—SPC's Ariane reentry measurements required extensive mission planning to ensure that the measurement platform was properly positioned for the maximum number of trajectory variations. Planning tasks included optimal measurement location; flight path planning and simulation; and real-time platform adjustment procedures.
  • Satellites—SPC has been involved in analyzing sensor coverage for constellations of radar or optical satellite platforms. The focus of these efforts has been to determine the effectiveness for monitoring particular geographic locations based on orbit parameters and to investigate orbit characteristics that would optimize coverage of areas of high interest.
Situational Awareness Tools
Radar screen with tracking over the ocean showing the western portion of the us
Click to view larger image
Situational awareness tools provide radar operators with knowledge of their surroundings, assisting them in making critical decisions during the course of measurements. In response to a customer's dilemma, SPC developed an Airborne Situational Awareness Tool for radar operators to keep track of aircraft orientation and provide effective real-time course corrections to aircraft pilots. This software tool is designed to maximize both ease-of-use and flexibility via the following:
  • Display and storage of avionics data such as time, latitude, longitude, altitude, pitch, roll, and crab angle
  • Graphical display of aircraft position and heading superimposed on an area map
  • Display of target position on map, as well as global views for orbital targets
  • Flexibility to use any map obtained from the web or other sources
  • Tools for creating flight path using waypoints
  • Tools for exporting and displaying stored position and altitude data
  • Timeline showing current time as well as mission elapsed time of major events
  • Target location based on telemetry data (current configuration uses waypoints or trajectory file)
  • Record observer-target geometry statistics including:
  • Mission Planning Module
Post-Mission Position Analysis
Post-mission processing tools allow personnel to exploit platform position information in analysis of sensor data, providing information on sensor position behavior, as well as displaying overall target-area geometry. SPC has developed a Mobile Sensor Geometry Tool in response to its clients demands for quality analysis capabilities. The Tool performs the following:
  • Reads sensor position log files (NMEA-0183 GGA GPS data format, and custom position data format)
  • Displays position data (including sensor groundtrack; target positions; sensor altitude profile; ground swath or field-of-view calculations and display; superimposed position-registered bitmaps)
  • Utilizes interactive graphical user interface (displays Lat/Lon, meters, or feet; zooms and autoscales graphs; rescales plots for equal ("square") axes; exports data in ASCII format)
Palletized Radar Systems

SPC palletized its MkVe radar system for use in field measurements to perform manual range and angle tracking of dynamic targets. This system has been used for several truck-based SAR tests and has proven itself extremely durable, performing well in freezing temperatures and after frequent relocations.

HelicopterSPC's palletized radars have been the workhorses for remote field measurements within the continental U. S. and overseas over the past 10 years.

Ground-based measurements have included signatures of static helicopters, dynamic helicopters, static UAVs, dynamic UAVs, boats, ships and chaff. The palletized system has been deployed in trucks, elevators, helicopters, and airships. Airborne applications have included measurements of radar clutter from various types of terrain.

Click here to view a brochure detailing our measurement capability.