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14 July, 2006 - 16:29 By Staff Reporter

NATO boost for Plextek radar

Plextek’s Blighter Radar has been used by BAE Systems as part of its Harbour Protection System (HPS) which successfully participated in the recent NATO biennial Harbour Protection Trials 2006 in La Spezia, Italy.

The Blighter radar is an integral part of the HPS’s unique above water surveillance capability. By successfully passing the trials, BAE Systems’ HPS has achieved NATO verification of its potential to counter the growing threat posed by terrorists in harbour waters.

BAE Systems’ HPS is a mobile and flexible surveillance solution and was the only system at the trials to integrate above and below water surveillance capability.

At the core of the HPS is a highly flexible Command and Control system (Spider) allowing for the interchange of sensors to match customers operational requirements.

The configuration taken to HPT 06 consisted of Spider which integrated QinetiQ’s Cerberus Swimmer Detection System, Selex’s SAS mobile surveillance unit with integrated EO/IR cameras and Unattended Ground Sensors and the Plextek Blighter Radar.

Blighter is a low cost portable FMCW e-scan radar system for short range, ground-based border and area protection. It uses an electronic beam-scanning antenna to simultaneously detect moving targets and can detect a single person out to 2km and vehicles from between 3-5km without physically having to rotate.

The Blighter radar is portable and remotely deployable, using low power technology to operate off batteries or other power sources including solar power.

Blighter may be used stand-alone for fixed area protection or observation, or may be linked together with other sensors to provide large-area protection and monitoring.

Blighter can also be used to detect moving targets and automatically point a surveillance camera at the target.

Jon Wills, market development and sales director for BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies (Insyte) said: “In an acoustically challenging environment the Harbour Protection System performed well, detecting divers outside the designated exclusion zone.

“Plextek’s Blighter radar system played an integral part in providing a reliable above-water surveillance cordon around the jetty and surrounding area. The trials proved that this system would give the user a highly-effective surveillance capability, helping ensure the safety of all traffic in and out of the harbour.”

Mark Radford, Blighter product manager at Plextek added: “Since we first came up with the Blighter radar concept we knew we had a great product with the potential to make a real difference in security applications around the world.

“We’re delighted that BAE Systems has recognised the qualities Blighter could bring to its Harbour Protection System and are extr-emely proud of the system’s excellent performance in the NATO trials.”

NATO and Partnership for Peace observers (including the Royal Navy) witnessed the trials.

There were several VIP visitors including NATO headquarters and NATO Underwater Research Centre (NURC) at the event.

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