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Persistent Wide-Area Maritime Surveillance using Smallsats with MIMO Radar Beamforming
  • Isaac Weissman
Isaac Weissman
Weissman Science & Engineering Co.

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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This communication presents a concept for a novel means of augmenting noncooperative active radar maritime surveillance of ship targets over very wide areas of the earth’s surface. The concept employs configurations of small satellites (smallsats) deployed in geostationary orbit (GEO) in combination with multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) beamforming in order to provide persistent (uninterrupted) surveillance of large, medium-sized, and, to various extents, small-sized vessels. An example is presented which would provide L-band surveillance of seas adjoining southern Europe, including the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, and Black Seas. An investigation of ship detection in the presence of sea clutter is included. This is followed by a more-general discussion of target classification, including methods of rejecting targets not lying on the sea surface. Data processing burdens are estimated and found to be substantial. Comparisons are made with alternative approaches. Lastly, in view of the large scale of such a prospective deployment, a risk reduction plan is offered, along with suggesting less-ambitious designs.