Multifunction Surveillance Radar Testing – HWDDC and the SPS-48E Meteorological and Aircraft Surveillance Capability

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Wednesday, 20 January 2010: 4:30 PM
B218 (GWCC)
Timothy Maese, BCI, Moorestown, NJ; and H. S. Owen, J. A. Hunziker, F. Yezril, L. Wagner, and R. Case

The Hazardous Weather Detection and Display Capability (HWDDC) system provides real-time environmental sensing onboard US Navy ships. HWDDC provides ‘through-the-sensor' (TTS) weather radar information from the tactical radar returns from the US Navy's SPS-48E 3-dimensional air surveillance radar. The system consists of a passive data tap within the SPS-48E radar signal processor and an adjunct data processing computer that automatically processes the SPS-48E returns and generates weather radar data files and images. HWDDC has previously been installed on the USS PELELIU (LHA-5) and the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN-73) for preliminary field tests. Additional upgrades have been made in preparation for larger scale implementation, and recent tests were conducted in Dam Neck, Virginia, as part of a pre-installation validation test process. Results from the HWDDC system are compared to the Wakefield, Virginia NEXRAD under a variety of weather conditions. These tests demonstrate that radars can support multifunction operation, including meteorological and aircraft surveillance, in a cost-effective manner. Key elements of the HWDDC system may help evolve electronically scanned radar concepts to address multifunction radar needs in next generation weather and surveillance radars.

The HWDDC system is based on commercial off-the-shelf PC technology for the real-time radar processing and provides a web-service based operating interface and display for viewing radar imagery. Real-time radar imagery are provided via the ship's local area network (LAN) to various users onboard the ship, such as the meteorology and oceanography department, aircraft pilot ready rooms, primary flight operations, and the bridge. The production system configuration allows not only users onboard the ship to view data, but will also provide off-ship user access to the radar data over the Navy's secure network, providing data and imagery to forecasters and warfighters in a real-time manner.

The HWDDC processor performs several of the functions of a traditional weather radar processor, such as spectral moment estimation, but also contains specialized processing to extract accurate data from the tactical radar scan that is unlike traditional weather radars. The processor contains significant volume recombination processing to gather data from the rapid radar scans into a coherent data volume, adaptive sea-surface clutter filtering, and point target removal.