Passive sensors evolve into a product family
Patria’s Systems Business Unit is known for its formidable expertise in electronic intelligence and radio frequency (RF) sensors. Two new products are now about to join the passive RF sensor product group: MUSCL (Multi-Static Coherent Location) for battle-proof air surveillance, and ARIS-E the ESM (Electronic support measures) system for tactical situational awareness.
Our new passive sensor systems are the result of years of development work. They represent the same skills as our successful ARIS system,” says Director, Business Development Tuomas Halonen.
ARIS, a remote-operable ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) system, is designed to work in today’s increasingly challenging signal environments. It is capable of capturing and analysing the most modern radar signals, and its extremely high-performance pulse processing enables strategic information gathering from radars in challenging operating environments. ARIS has been in operational use since 2010 and is under continuous development.
Patria’s new products, MUSCL and ARIS-E, enable it to provide more comprehensive tools for spectrum-wide intelligence and surveillance.
Passive sensor systems do not transmit signals themselves, but use radio signals transmitted or reflected by the targets. Because passive systems are extremely difficult to detect and small in size, they actually perform better than active radars in various surveillance tasks. Passive systems are also cost-effective to operate.
MUSCL offers a modular and highly mobile passive air surveillance system. Its range extends to several hundreds of kilometres with a 360-degree directional coverage, and it can track more than 100 objects simultaneously. MUSCL’s operating principle allows it to detect small and low flying targets, and to pick up stealth targets even better than active radar systems.
“The MUSCL system is mainly designed for air surveillance by governmental authorities, but it can also be used to protect critical infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants, and major sporting events,” Halonen explains.
Another new entry is the ARIS-E ESM system, which provides tactical, time-critical information of radar systems for real-time command and control of operations. It is highly mobile and modular, and is not tied to a particular platform. The system uses libraries assembled from strategic information collected by ARIS and equivalent systems. It can operate autonomously and identify objects automatically.
Patria’s strong background in signals intelligence is reflected in the inclusion of manual tools for analysing and searching for new signals.
”Although both new products belong to the same product family and represent the same technical expertise, they also operate as independent systems,” says Halonen.
Patria has paid extra attention to the user interfaces of the systems. Through collaboration with experienced operators, these have been designed to be visual and intuitive.
“The aim has been to create a user-friendly interface for high-quality tools. You don’t have to be an engineer to operate our systems,” Halonen says with a smile.
All of Patria’s passive sensor systems can be used remotely. The sensor stations are capable of 24/7 unmanned operations and are designed for protection against climatic stress. The systems have protected, secure connections between remote sensor stations and operating sites.
Patria offers life-cycle services and continuous R&D for ARIS, MUSCL and ARIS-E. New software and user interface updates are made each year.
Signal detection will become increasingly challenging in the future. The development of new tools is a continuous process.
“Many modern radars are intelligent; they switch the transmitted signal as needed and therefore signal libraries expire quickly. We need to assess the environment continuously,” Halonen says.
“Library-based detection may not work in the future. We are seeking help from Artificial Intelligence, for example, which can be taught to identify what kind of system is associated with a certain signal. The potential of such identification methods is also being investigated with regard to the Patria’s ARIS-E ESM system.”