Radar Research Can Track High Speed Targets, Missiles
January 23, 2009
UTEP Engineering Professor Dr. Benjamin Flores is performing cutting edge research that promises to make the country a safer place.
For more than a decade, Flores has done extensive research on radar. Funded by the Department of Defense and the Office of Naval Research, his research has led him to develop new radar signal processing approaches to obtain images of targets such as military aircraft or even intercontinental, ballistic missiles coming in through the atmosphere at high speeds.
The speeds at which these objects travel challenge current radar technology. Flores’ research involves the use of microwaves to get a clear, focused picture of airborne targets. It can easily tell the difference between friend and foe and provides numerous other details such as size, shape and even the type of propulsion engines.
According to Flores, ballistic missiles undergo significant stress upon re-entry into the atmosphere. Information obtained from radar images can be used to determine whether the missiles are intact, have deployed multiple warheads, or have been destroyed.
“These images provide accurate information that can be used to make smart decisions,” said Flores. “For instance mobilizing intercepting fighters can be an expensive proposition when a target is detected. Modern radar technology can be used to decide whether to just watch the target, or to send a fighter. So the approach is also cost effective.”
There are other advantages. By disguising radar waves as microwave noise, the technology becomes virtually undetectable. No one else would know that the target is being tracked.
“If an air craft is not responding to radio, we can use this technology to monitor them,” said Flores. “It may be a simple radio malfunction, but there is still a need to monitor it. This technology will track and continuously monitor the target. It is ideal for the next generations of airport surveillance systems.”