This project will advance passive radar capabilities with an initial focus on maritime applications such as monitoring and estimating sea-state conditions. It aims to develop miniaturised, high frequency sensor systems that will enable real-time processing of line-of-sight and reflected GPS signals from a networked constellation of CubeSats or other unmanned aerial platforms.
The technologies to be advanced under this project will directly address limitations in the current system for sea-state monitoring, particularly with regard to refresh rates and spatial coverage.
The deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles to more accurately estimate sea-state conditions – namely wave height, wind speeds and wave/wind direction – will inform better decision-making and deliver a range of benefits to Defence including improved safety, speed and fuel consumption for Naval vessels.
If proven, the capability is expected to attract strong interest including both broader Defence utilisation and commercial applications.
Early work on the project has focused substantially on design of sensor receivers making use of field programmable gate array (FPGA) technology, and validating the system’s capacity for data collection, streaming and archiving.
The manufacturing of a prototype and software development to prepare for ground-based testing is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2019.
The project is led by industry partner Seaskip with support from UNSW Sydney’s Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER), both of whom are new partners of DMTC, and builds on an extensive body of fundamental research already undertaken by ACSER. While not formally linked to the project, significant input and support is being received from DST, Navy and Air Force as well as New Zealand SME General Dynamics.