Israeli defense company IAI has unveiled its new Passive Coherent Location System (PCL). The system allows for users to utilize radio signals from analog FM broadcasting and Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) from commercial sources to detect and track aerial targets.
In conventional radars, the transmitter and receiver work together to “paint” the area, allowing it to detect targets and track them. This also means that because it involves an active source for its signal, a hostile target with appropriate electronics knows when it has been scanned and in turn jam the radar signal and/or launch weapons that can home in on the transmitter to destroy it.
PCLs uses the electro-magnetic radiation from existing signals, often from commercial sources such as radio and television. This means it does not have to broadcast itself, making it effectively “passive” rather than “active” radar. This allows the system to covertly detect and track aerial targets, makes it immune to jamming and, due the siting of multiple passive detectors, much harder to knock out.
PCLs have been in use for decades, but have been of limited use due to the complexities of getting the passive systems to work in a way effective enough to be worthwhile. As a result active radar has been the main method of air surveillance.
However, IAI’s state that their new system is simple to deploy and can be located on remote borders, as well as in urban areas. Installation can include one sensor or a cluster of sensors for redundancy and improved coverage of specific problematic areas. The sites are connected to the central PCL command and control processing unit via a dedicated data link.
By detecting and tracking aerial threats based on target reflection from FM or DAB towers, IAI’s PCL provides 3D real-time omnidirectional coverage for tracking of multiple targets in congested airborne traffic. Adi Dulberg, IAI’s VP and General Manager of IAI/ELTA’s Intelligence, Communications and EW division, said:
“We are proud to introduce the new PCL system developed by IAI/ELTA, that detects and classifies aerial risks without unveiling the locator. The PCL system creates an air situation picture and can be deployed independently or as an additional layer for air control radars, as part of a multi-disciplinary air situation picture”
IAI say that the new system is already deployable and ready for ordering.