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Overcoming the Challenges of Interfacing to Legacy Radars

Overcoming the Challenges of Interfacing to Legacy Radars

Upgrading radar systems, whether for surveillance, air defence, maritime security or naval applications, is expensive. Although a full system upgrade of antennas, transceivers, radar processing and displays may be desirable, it may also be cost-prohibitive and unnecessary if some components of the system are operational and maintainable. The question then arises as to whether selective elements of the system can be upgraded, incorporating existing components where desired, but upgrading where necessary and affordable. In terms of processing, modern PC-based radar processing and display equipment is able to replace out-of-date special-purpose radar processing hardware, offering improvements in performance and maintainability without the price tag of proprietary equipment. 

The challenge of the partial upgrade is interfacing the new with the old.


Common challenges for programme managers

Interfacing new equipment to existing throws up many challenges, such as:

  • Documentation: Often paperwork that defines the interfaces may not even exist and where it does it may be incomplete or inaccurate. It may be in a foreign language.
  • Information gaps: It may be necessary to fill in knowledge gaps by fist analysing data to deduce the intended behaviour – a process of reverse engineering.
  • Non-conformity to standards: Although we may wish to see interfaces conforming to industry standards, these are less likely as internal interfaces between components of a system differ.

Small tweaks with big impact

One of the cornerstones of Cambridge Pixel’s product architecture is a modular framework of software and hardware components that work together and may be mixed and matched with existing equipment. Custom engineering can bridge interfaces, allowing new software and hardware components to be incorporated into an existing radar system without wholesale replacement of an existing structure....


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