Advanced signal processing for airport surveillance radars
The inclusion of airport surveillance radars (ASR) in an automated air traffic control system, such as the ARTS-III, has been limited by the present radar's capability to automatically reject ground clutter, weather clutter and angels while still maintaining good detectability on all aircraft within their coverage patterns. Analytical and experimental studies have been performed which indicate that new techniques can significantly enhance the automated capability of these radars. A special-purpose, hard-wired, digital signal processor has been designed, built and tested which provides near-optimum target detection over the entire ASR coverage out to 48 nmi. The processor which coherently integrates eight pulses has both a fine grained clutter map for optimal thresholding in high ground clutter environments and a mean-level thresholding scheme for filtering those Doppler cells which contain heavy precipitation. Because of the processor's ability to detect targets in a high ground clutter environment, the ASR's will be able to operate their antennas at lower elevation angles and, thus, have better coverage of low flying aircraft near the terminal. The processor is initially being tested on a highly modified, coherent S-band, FPR-18 radar. The stability of the klystron transmitter was improved so that it would not limit system performance and a new, wide dynamic range, linear receiver was provided.