Radar is a device that uses electromagnetic waves to measure distance, direction and speed of targets/objectives that can be static or in motion. A basic radar system consists of an antenna, the trans receptor, the signal processor and a display unit.


The ability of target detection depends on two main factors: the antenna and the signal processor that can be a piece of hardware or software that analyzes the signals by running complex algorithms. 


There are two types of radar technology available to the maritime surveillance world, the older conventional magnetron based radars, and the newer more advanced solid state radars. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has published a number of standards that govern the minimum capabilities required of such radars for use in the maritime surveillance space. Today’s radar manufacturers, by and large, develop and supply radars that are compliant with the IMO, and other, technical and performance standards.


The purpose of the radar is of course to detect, and in some cases, classify ships and other objects at sea. Whether solid state based or magnetron based, the radar uses a beam of pulsed radio energy to detect and report the presence of targets.  The radar can report both range and bearing of the target. The detection of targets is enhanced at the radar head by the employment of a number of physical and software processes.


These processes include such things as:

- Pulse compression


- Pulse Width Modulation


- Moving Target Indication (MTI)


- Clutter suppression


- Pulse Repetition Frequency management


- Enhanced digital signal processing, and so on.


A number of these features are able to be controlled and manipulated remotely from the radar head its self. In addition, the overall health and performance characteristics of an operational radar can also be remotely monitored. All this is typically achieved via the radar Remote Control and Monitoring System (RCMS).