CapTech RF Sensors Technologies

Jun 27, 2017
Radar-web

Type of activity: CapTech
Participating Countries: All
Other partners: n/a

The CapTech RF Sensors Technologies (RADAR) deals with Radar and Electronic Warfare (EW) systems applying RF, magnetic and electronic technologies. It includes the related subjects of signal processing, propagation and signature control and reduction. Governmental representatives, through a dialogue with research and industry experts, meet in order to generate collaborative RF Sensors projects from a system level perspective. It also supports pMS in preparing wider programmes and common initiatives.

The technologies and techniques covered by CapTech Radar include:

  • RF systems and sub-systems for radar, EW (ESM, ECM) and multi-function RF systems (MFRFS), which can support combinations of radar, EW and communications functions.
  • Applications include airborne, spaceborne and naval surveillance EW includes electronic support measures (ESM), electronic counter measures (ECM) and RF Directed Energy Weapons (DEW-RF)
  • EM propagation in air and water
  • Environmental and Radar Cross Section (RCS) modelling, sensor performance modelling
  • Signal processing – scope, includes, but not limited to
  • Algorithms for detection and tracking of challenging targets in clutter and jamming environments
  • Algorithms for the detection and identification of RF signals (ESM)
  • Algorithms for RF system management: single systems, (especially MFRFS), sensors networks
  • Non-cooperative target classification and identification
  • Radar signature control and reduction
  • Materials, devices and algorithms suitable to reduce the RF signature of targets and RF sensors

 

The work of the CapTech Radar is primarily limited to activities of TRL 2 to 6, and it is mainly technology pushed. However, in terms of military capability priorities, RF technologies can bring significant contributions to air, maritime, land and pan-environment systems, having strong interconnections and interdependencies with the respective CapTechs. Other essential links are with the Components and Optronics CapTechs, which offer hardware inputs and systems complementary to those in the Radar CapTech.

In the same time, RF Sensors are a good example of dual-use technologies exhaustively used for security and defence applications. Civilian technology will, and already does, make a major contribution to military radar, signal processors and manufacturing techniques. Commercial developments will drive materials and device technology that can then be exploited by military RF Systems designers.  For many years, the use of European funds for Defence Research was not possible. The European Council’s conclusions in December 2013 expressed a change of view with an explicit call in favour of better exploitation of civil-defence synergies.

The Council Conclusions stated that a Preparatory Action (PA) on Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) related research will be set up. The impact of a future CSDP theme in the framework programme would be significant for the whole defence research community. In that sense, the PA will be a key factor in shaping the future of collaborative European defence research. In the RF Sensor Technologies field, the PA could contribute to enhancing capabilities related to RF Sensor Technologies, such as ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance)and Electronic Support Measures (ESM) and should take advantage of the application of IMOSA (Interoperable Multifunctional Open System Architectures).

 

Way of working

The Radar CapTech meetings are held 3 times per year, with a maximum duration of 2 days. All the information is shared in its Workspace. Prior or right after a CapTech meeting, a participative workshop or meeting might take place. Generally, their objectives are to achieve concrete outcomes, such as the preparation of a project or fulfilment of an extraordinary request. 

To become a Radar CapTech member (CapTech Governmental Expert - CGE or CapTech non-Governmental Expert- CnGE), please follow the instructions included in the R&T General site, and be aware that your request will be forwarded to the relevant CapTech National Coordinator - CNC. The approval of the CNC will be needed to become a CGE or CnGE, and also for your participation in a CapTech event.

The activities of the CapTech are guided by the Radar Captech Strategic Research Agenda (SRA). The aim of the SRA is to provide shared visions between governmental and non-governmental members on the most urgent technical challenges to study. The Radar CapTech identified areas where technology gaps are encountered as well as the main challenges for RF systems for defence. These have been translated into 7 technological themes for future RF Systems, subsequently analysed to identify 3 groups of critical technologies: RF/IF/digital technologies, signal and data processing and system level issues.

Based on the SRA, any CapTech member can propose ideas for new activities (projects, workshops, seminars, etc.) at any meeting. The CapTech’s work involves the whole CnGE community, including SMEs and “non-industrial” organizations. The active involvement of non-governmental members in proposing solutions for governmental needs, with a consistent and systematic ground for dialogue can definitely encourage cooperation.

Activities

It is a challenge to bring together the highly competitive companies in charge of RF Sensors manufacturing in joint initiatives, given that competition in this market is extremely high. Global spending on Radar is forecasted at $18.54 billion in 2023 and EW will reach $17.41 billion in 2024. In the EDA framework, several collaborative projects in this arena have been implemented, amounting to more than €60 million and covering a wide range of subjects:
  • The SMRF Programme (2006-2026) has been devised to create an ecosystem enabling European cooperation in the field of Scalable Multifunction RF Sensors. Several activities have been developed in the Agency:  the initial projects STRATA (2006) and SIMPLE (2007–2010) were fundamental for the feasibility of the concept and the establishment of a modular and scalable architecture;  AMBASSADOR (2012–2013) showed the advantage of agreeing on Systems Engineering frameworks and Model Based System Engineering (MBSE) as well as the expected benefits of their use.
    • MBSE will generate the benefit of allowing integration and reduce risk of the transmission of information between partners. Other trends on simulation, testing and verification will be extensively used, based on standards to ensure better quality and interoperability of sensors. They would presumably be connected in extensive networks with the ability to provide persistent surveillance enabled by high level sensor and data fusion. 
  • SIMCLAIRS (2009-2013) Innovation Technology Partnership (ITP) was working on low Size, Weight, Power and Cost (SWAP-C) multifunction sensors but on the specific application to RPAS. New schemes to allow the participation of SMEs, Universities and Research Centres were established with Competing Programmes. They were managed and coordinated by the lead integrators and involved a wide participation of diverse actors.
  • Lightweight radar and ESM technologies for urban warfare were the subject of TELLUS (2009–2012). Signal processing for Radar and EW was the core of SPREWS (2009–2012) and Radiofrequency spectrum allocation the main objective of FARADAYS (2010–2013).
  • During the last three years the capability of Non Cooperative Target Identification by radar (NCTR) has been the centre of attention in the CapTech. SPERI (2013–2016) ACACIA (2014–2017) and MAPIS (2014–2017) for passive radar and possibly COGITO, foreseen to start in 2017, have been tackling this important issue from different perspectives.
  • Scalability, modularity and cognitivity, together with the reduction of life cycle costs have to be addressed through adequate techniques like those offered by System Engineering frameworks. The projects ASAR (2011), RM4MRF (2015) and KBARET (2016) have analysed these issues among others, taking into account the criticality aspects and their impact in scalable and modular architectures.
  • The burst in UAV activity is tangible, achieving half of their value from payloads. RFST developments will come through enablers of the SWAP-C reduction of sensor payloads for the Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, & Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability. In that field, multifunction sensing and Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antennas are critical. The possibility to develop conformal AESA has been analysed in UCAR (2014).
  • One of the main trends is the progressive integration of COTS from the civil market into military systems. This approach is aimed at decreasing costs, but introduces obsolescence and security challenges. Other trends like advanced signal processing with compressive sensing analysed in RICS (2013) or the use of photonics will significantly improve speed/bandwidths.
  • Other topics of interest are covered as well, such as the analysis of the biological effects of RF military signals for personnel protection in RFBIO (2016-2021). This will facilitate the process of complying with the duty of care needs of the armed forces.

The development and use of Interoperable Modular Architectures (IMOSA) represents a core innovation addressed in the CapTech. It is viewed as a very powerful tool which may boost cooperation and is ideal for EU funding. IMOSA  allow the division of systems in Building Blocks (BB) that can be worked out in isolation through different and disruptive technologies. The fact that these BBs are defined through standard interfaces make them possible to be easily integrated in complex systems.  Since they can be treated as black boxes, it would be possible to protect the IPR of the different partners participating in these projects. 












  

Participating Member States

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Italy
  • Cyprus
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • UK