An optimum surveillance radar for ATC
The role of surveillance radar will change as the evolving ATC system relies more heavily upon cooperative beacons, but radars will still remain as an important system element. Today's radars have major limitations for an automated ATC environment because they report unwanted targets (ground, bird, and weather clutter) and because they are expensive to operate and maintain. In addition, to minimize ground clutter, radars are usually sited relatively close to the ground and consequently their performance is not adequate to detect small, distant, low-flying aircraft. By exploiting today's digital technology and by using a completely linear signal processing system, it is now possible to obtain a major improvement in MTI performance. The Lincoln Laboratory has demonstrated a 48-db clutter improvement factor on a 15-rpm scanning S-band ASR-type radar. This clutter rejection capability is about 20 db greater than exhibited by radars now in the field. By selection of more appropriate radar parameters, still greater fixed clutter and weather rejection can be achieved.