Radar and Electronic Warfare

Scientists and engineers are constantly working on stealth technology. Using facets and Radar Absorbing Materials (RAMs) such as iron ball paint, Jaumann layers, and foam absorbers; their mission is to make military aircraft, ships, submarines, and missiles virtually invisible to radar detection systems.

Military and major aerospace companies maintain radar cross section (RCS) facilities as part of Radar and Electronic Peacekeeping. Tests are conducted at these labs to verify that stealth designs are successful in reducing RCS to a level that can protect our forces.

Peacekeeping organizations maintain communications systems that can be deployed anywhere and are capable of voice, video and data transmission to aid in peacekeeping operations (PKOs). Technology is being used to help monitor conflicts and arms embargoes, carry out early warnings, and maintain situational awareness necessary to identify threats and support humanitarian efforts.

RADAR is an acronym which stands for Radio Detection and Ranging. The basic concept is that a pulsed electromagnetic wave of known power and frequency is transmitted in a specific direction where it encounters a target that reflects some portion of the signal back, which is measured by a receiving device. Radars can use CW signals, basic pulses and a wide variety of other signal waveforms.

In addition to range, other information about the target can be detected, such as speed and direction, by varying parameters of the radar system. For example, scanning an area with a highly directive antenna can provide the direction of the target in azimuth and elevation, while measuring the frequency shift of the received signal can provide the target’s speed.

Target Range

Target range is a fundamental use for most radar systems. Radar systems have evolved significantly in how they are constructed, the signals used, the information that can be captured, and how this information can be used in different applications. Radar is used in a wide array of both military and civilian applications, including:

  • Surveillance (threat identification, motion detection, or proximity fuses)
  • Detection and tracking (target identification and pursuit or maritime rescue)
  • Navigation (automotive collision avoidance or air traffic control)
  • High resolution imaging (terrain mapping or landing guidance)
  • Weather tracking (storm avoidance or wind profiling)

Ground Penetrating Radar

Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) aids in finding buried arms caches, while ground surveillance radars (GSR) detect illegal movements. Peacekeepers detect airspace violations common in war-torn areas using air surveillance radars. Synthetic aperture radar and commercial satellites are used to locate and confirm large refugee movements.

Doppler Pulsed Radar

This is a coherent radar system in which the received pulse-to-pulse phase variations enable the element of speed to be added to the distance and direction of the target. They typically utilize high pulse repetition rates (PRRs), which enables more accurate radial velocity measurements, but have less range accuracy. Doppler pulsed radar systems are used to detect moving targets while rejecting static clutter, which can be very helpful in weather monitoring applications.

Moving Target Indicator (MTI) Radar

MTI radar also uses Doppler frequencies to differentiate echoes of a moving target from stationary objects and clutter. Its waveform is a train of pulses with a low PRR to avoid range ambiguities, at the expense of velocity accuracy. These types of radar systems are often used in ground-based aircraft search and surveillance applications.

Pulse Compression Radar

Short pulse width signals provide better range resolution, but have limited range. Long pulse width signals contain more energy and provide a longer detection range, but sacrifice resolution. Pulse compression combines the power related benefits of long pulse widths with the resolution benefits of short pulse widths. By either modulating the frequency (e.g., linearly for an FM chirp) or the phase (e.g. with a Barker code) of the transmitted signal, the long pulse can be compressed in the receiver by an amount equal to the reciprocal of the modulating signal bandwidth. Many weather monitoring systems have moved to pulse compression radar.

Signal Amplitude and Target Movement

When a target is moving, the amplitude of the pulse signal will also vary with respect to the distance from the receiver. Adding AM to the pulse provides a simple means by which you can vary the amplitude of the pulse over time. The rate is the time in which the variation in amplitude occurs. The depth defines how much the amplitude varies. 1 kHz is selected to line up with the period of the pulse (1/1 ms = 1 kHz). The modulation wave is set to ramp down to simulate the decreasing power of the radar return of a target moving away (which corresponds to the increasing delay we set). Using AM in this way is only a conceptual simulation because the amplitude reduction of an actual radar return would not be linear.

High-Speed Digitizer Method

A number of methods are currently being used to make pulse measurements, including narrowband or band-limited methods, triggered methods and wideband methods. Unfortunately, they all come with limitations and trade-offs. The high-speed digitizer measurement method represents major technology advancement over all prior pulse measurement test methods. While similar to the “historic” wideband method, this method is based on direct acquisition – but at a much higher data rate than was previously available.

By using a high-speed digitizer and performing the alignment with pulse data in a post-processing sense, one avoids the triggering latency issues associated with triggered measurements and potential jitter/inconsistency problems with that triggering. The resolution is set mainly by the acquisition rate instead.

Point-in-Pulse Measurements

The point-in-pulse measurement quantifies S-parameter data at any point in time within a pulse. The measurements are made with swept frequency or power and plotted accordingly. This measurement mode is useful when trying to avoid possible edge effects of the pulse. For example, amplifiers often have settling effects at the beginning of the pulse. Point-in-pulse measurements are useful when you need to measure the pulse as a whole, but the structure within the pulse is not of great interest nor is the variation from pulse to pulse.

Pulse Profile Measurements

The pulse profiling measurement focuses on the structure of data within the pulse. The measurements are made in the time domain, while the frequency and power are kept constant. This measurement mode is useful for determining pulse characteristics such as overshoot/undershoot, droop, and edge response (e.g., rise/fall time).


The pulse-to-pulse measurement quantifies variations between pulses in a pulse stream. The measurements are also made in the time domain, while the frequency and power are kept constant. This measurement mode is useful when trying to determine whether the pulse characteristics are varying over time. For example, high power amplifiers may have thermal effects which can cause variances in the gain or phase.

Vector Network Analyzers are perfect elements of an RCS measurement system. They have the measurement speed and accuracy – as well as Time Domain capability – to provide the overall S-parameter critical performance information to help ensure successful stealth designs.

The VNA Master and Site Master families are easy-to-use tools to help make these humanitarian efforts successful. Specifically designed for rugged field environments, they are lightweight and have field-replaceable Li-Ion batteries. Their wide operating temperature range means they will work wherever humanitarian operations are needed.

They also employ the Frequency Domain Reflectometry (FDR) measurement technique for distance-to-fault (DTF) measurements. This allows our instruments to locate slight signal path degradation that is missed by other instruments that use Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) techniques. Such detection capability helps insure the safety and security of peacekeepers, as well as the effectiveness of their missions.

The Anritsu signal generator product line is ideal for radar or peace keeping applications, whether it’s the MG37020A Fast Switching Microwave Signal Generator with 100 µsec typical switching speed or the MG3690C family of microwave signal generators with the most comprehensive emulation and test of high performance narrow pulse radars.

What is Electronic Warfare?

Electronic Warfare (EW) uses electromagnetic spectrum for offense, attack and mission support. From air, land and sea, it can target forces, communication, radar and other assets (military and civilian).

Accurately Simulate Environments While Measuring ECM Techniques

At Tektronix, we are the leader in delivering integrated measurement tools that help military and government personnel accurately recreate the physical and electromagnetic environment exposed during field operations and electronic warfare.

Today, the dynamic congestion contained within the Electromagnetic Spectrum from other emitters, jammers, and interferes demands higher fidelity instruments to accurately simulate the environments represented in the field to ensure electronic protection systems are fully tested out, so our military forces can detect realistic threats and stay out of harm’s way.

Accurately Simulate Environments While Measuring ECM Techniques

Accurately replicate physical and electromagnetic environmental effects

Performance in the lab is never as true as performing in the field. That’s why, in verifying key performance parameters during system development testing and technique development in the lab or chamber, requires introducing atmospheric and electromagnetic effects to the waveform scenario generation. Tektronix has high fidelity arbitrary waveform generators coupled with powerful software enabling multipath generation, high pulse dense environments and attenuation control for rain, fog and other electromagnetic effects.

Tek has durable instruments that replicate the following with precision:

  • Physical positional effects
  • Physical atmospheric effects (rain, fog, dust storms)
  • Electromagnetic effects (clutter, multipath)

A simplified visual simulation of the Electromagnetic Environment your system-under-test may be exposed to during operation.

Advanced Radar Analysis: Tools for Measuring Modern Radar Application Note

With today’s rapid advances in radar technology, developing and manufacturing highly specialized and innovative electronic products to detect radar signals takes leading-edge technology and tools. Tektronix innovative test equipment reduces testinguncertainty during the design process and delivers confidence in the integrity of increasingly complex designs. Tektronix Arbitrary Waveform Generators, Real-time Spectrum Analyzers and High-Bandwidth Oscilloscopes offer the capabilities you need to manage the requirements of modern radar applications.

Advanced Radar Analysis: Tools for Measuring Modern Radar Application Note

DPX Acquisition Technology for Spectrum Analyzers Fundamentals

Tektronix’ patented Digital Phosphor technology or DPX® is used in our Real-Time Spectrum Analyzers (RTSAs), to reveal signal details that are completely missed by conventional spectrum analyzers and vector signal analyzers. The full-motion DPX spectrum’s Live RF display shows signals never seen before, giving users instant insight and greatly accelerating discovery and diagnosis. DPX is a standard feature in all Tektronix Real-Time Spectrum Analyzers (RTSAs).

This primer describes the DPX spectrum display and how it addresses situations involving brief, intermittent, complex and/or coincident signals. Also covered are the methods for achieving its key performance specifications.

DPX Acquisition Technology for Spectrum Analyzers Fundamentals

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