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EMSIG Seminar

Title: Deployment of a commercial Passive Radar system at the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope. 

Date: 4th June, 2021 and 2:30pm

Presenter: Dr. Stephen Paine - University of Cape Town


This presentation details the planning, deployment and initial results obtained from the Peralex
ComRad Passive Radar system procured by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) for aircraft tracking in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio reserve.
The SKA site in the Northern Cape of South Africa currently hosts the most powerful radio telescope in the world. This is enabled by the very low amount of terrestrial radio emissions within the area. SARAO, who are responsible for operating the site, has an objective to preserve the radio quiet zone and to mitigate future Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) risks. One of the sources of such risks emanates from transmitters mounted on aircraft. Thus, there is a need to detect and track such aircraft in the vicinity of the SKA core site. Traditional air traffic systems such as ADS-B and multi-lateration techniques are not always available within the radio reserve. Additionally, Primary Surveillance Radars (PSRs) cannot be deployed in close proximity to the core site due to their active nature. ComRad solves this problem by providing a fully independent platform capable of RF emission free, non-cooperative target tracking.
The system consists of four independent receiver nodes, placed in and around the SKA core site. Each node exploits multiple FM transmitters of opportunity using multiple FM channels per transmitter, forming a fully multi-static system resulting in improved target localisation and tracking. The system has demonstrated the ability to detect and track both cooperative and non-cooperative targets at significant distances from the core site. This provides SARAO with real-time situational awareness yielding invaluable insight and helping them protect and mitigate against airborne RFI threats.

Link and details are shared in the email sent to members.

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