Software Defined Radar – Literature Survey

| June 19, 2015


Software Defined Radar – Literature Survey

The concept of Software Defined Radio (SDR) has been in existence for around thirty years. SDR describes a radio communications systems where key components, such as, mixers, filters, modulators/demodulators and frequency synthesisers, traditionally implemented using analogue components and circuitry, are instead implemented via digital signal processing techniques. The original concept was to provide more flexible, smaller, lighter radio systems, with lower power consumption, by implementing significant portions of the signal processing in software on a general purpose processor or computer system – hence the use of “software” in the name. To further improve performance and flexibility modern SDR systems are often implemented using specially designed Digital Signal Processing (DSP) units, which can be in the form of a processor (DSP Processor) or reconfigurable digital hardware.

A more recent concept is that of Software Defined Radar, where Software Defined Radio techniques are applied to development of radar systems. In Software Defined Radar systems the majority of signal generation/detection and radar signal processing are performed using high performance DSP processors, Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) hardware, or specially designed integrated circuits. As the key radar functions of, waveform generation, receiver operation and signal detection are completely performed in the digital domain using flexible software and/or hardware, the radar can easily switch between different operational modes by modifying transmit waveforms and receive processing as required. This enables a radar platform to perform many different tasks or adapt its operation to an evolving situation. The use of Software Defined Radar techniques also considerably reduces the size, cost and power consumption of radar systems, relative to performance delivered, making it very attractive for the implementation of phased array radar systems, where a large number of identical radar units are combined and coordinated to operate as one significantly more powerful radar.

For this literature survey you will investigate current practices in Software Defined Radar and the applications they are applied to. Of particular interest are radar systems with one or more of the following characteristics (the more the better): (i) operating in the HF (3-30MHz) band; (ii) employs RF sampling for both receiver and transmitter; (iii) significant use of FPGA hardware in the design; (iv) transmission and reception at the one site using the same antenna(s); and (v) phased array operation (hence digital beamforming). The main body of the literature survey report shall be approximately 4000 words in length, with additional abstract and reference list, formatted using the IEEE standard.

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