New requirements demand new solutions in maritime navigation systems



Kelvin Hughes, London, UK


VTS Introduction

In Vessel Traffic Management and Coastal Surveillance systems, radar is considered the key sensor in enhancing safety and efficiency, providing environmental protection and meeting the ever-growing need for security. Kelvin Hughes, with its established history as a supplier of maritime navigation radar and navigation systems, has developed a family of solid-state radar sensors, SharpEye™, with performance and reliability that allows entry to markets previously seen as the territory of the specialist radar suppliers.

Radar reinvented for the 21st century

Instead of the magnetron and high voltage modulator associated with legacy navigation radar systems, SharpEye introduces solid-state transceiver technology and pulse Doppler processing to deliver super ior situational awareness and outstanding operational reliability. It achieves this enhanced performance without the high costs associated with traditional naval surveillance radars.

What is the secret?

In simple terms, the surface surveillance needs of VTS author ities worldwide are dr iving requirements for radar performance that conventional radar systems simply cannot meet. In response, Kelvin Hughes has invested in the  development and production-level maturation of cr itical enabling technologies, to fashion a new type of radar that reinvents the state-of-the-art for both commercial marine and naval operators.

What differentiates SharpEye from its competition is the application of the very latest in solid-state and signal processing technologies, which provides users with both performance and reliability – benefits hitherto only available in high-end military radar systems.

These features include significantly improved target detection in clutter, the robust detection of small fast targets and enhanced reliability and reduced through-life costs of ownership compared to conventional systems.

Meeting VTS requirements

Kelvin Hughes’ VTS programme provides a new generation of short-range tactical surveillance radar to replace the existing magnetron radars, which are in service in many shore-based systems. The X-band variant of SharpEye provides a system that is able to meet the performance requirements for a future VTS sensor, while at the same time delivering on the user requirement for a system that is economically sustainable throughout its life.

Situational awareness is enhanced by the ability of SharpEye to provide early detection of small targets. When compared with conventional X-band navigation radar systems, the X-band variant of SharpEye delivers an improvement in sub-clutter visibility typically in the region of 20 dB, enabling targets with small radar cross sections (typically 0.5m2) to be detected even in the presence of heavy sea and rain clutter.

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