Which radars are tracking me, & why? – Garth Wilkinson

Garth spoke about the perspective of this topic in terms of the situational awareness of military platforms (air, land sea, space) to their radar environment, with the aim of enhancing their survivability against attack by potential enemy radar directed weapon systems.

A general breakdown of electronic warfare was described, with particular emphasis on Electronic Support Measures (ESM) & Radar Warning Receivers (RWRs). Dependence on radar signal environment scenarios was outlined, and the particular challenge of identifying potential threats embedded in a largely peacetime scenario was highlighted. The number of radar emitters seen increased tremendously with ESM receiver altitude, which posed significant signal processing problems for airborne & spaceborne platforms. Radar signal parameter measurements could be used to generate a digital pulse descriptor word. However, massive bespoke parallel processing was required to do so. Some typical ESM receiver architectures were described. The problems of simultaneous pulse train de-interleaving & pulse characterisation were outlined. Pattern recognition methods were used, ranging from statistical clustering methods to sophisticated artificial intelligence techniques employing, for example, emitter knowledge databases and trained neural networks. Next the methods used for measurement of signal angle of arrival were described, and the types of broadband ESM antennas used on aircraft. Illustrations of ESM intercept data were given, and a general description given of radar mode identification, the data fusion techniques used for platform identification and how these might be displayed optimally to aircrew using “glass cockpit” technology. Examples were shown of some typical tactical airborne  fighter equipment installations. Finally, a video was shown of a real-time tactical fighter RWR simulation (somewhat old-fashioned) in responding to an escalating level of threat from a layered air defence scenario.

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