Tracking and control in multi-function radar
The phased array multi-function radar is an effective solution to the requirement for simultaneous surveillance and multiple target tracking. However, since it is performing the jobs usually undertaken by several dedicated radars its radar time and energy resources are limited. For this reason, and also due to the large cost of active phased array antennas, it is important for the strategies adopted in the control of the radar to be efficient. This thesis investigates and develops efficient strategies for multi-function radar control and tracking. Particularly the research has focused on the use of rotating array antennas and simultaneous multiple receive beam processing. The findings of the research challenge the traditional view that three or four fixed (static) array faces is the best antenna configuration for a multi-function radar system. By developing novel methods for the comparison of systems utilising different antenna configurations it is shown that a rotating array multi-function radar performs the surveillance function with a greater efficiency in its use of radar time than a static array system. Also, a rotating array system benefits from the ability to distribute the radar resources over the angular coverage in a way that is impossible with a static array system. A novel strategy is presented to achieve this, which allows the rotating array system to better support the realistic situation of a high concentration of radar tasks in a narrow angular sector. It is shown that the use of broadened transmit beams coupled with simultaneous multiple narrow receive beams can eliminate the compromise on radar beamwidth between the surveillance and tracking functions that is associated with multi-function radars. This technique would allow construction of multi-function radar systems with narrow beamwidths, giving improved tracking performance, without extending search frame times excessively. Efficient tracking strategies for both static array and rotating array multi-function radars are developed. They are applied through computer simulation to demonstrate tracking of highly manoeuvrable targets with a narrow beam multi-function radar. Track robustness is attained through the use of multiple beam track updating strategies at little cost in terms of radar time.