Refined SAR Imagery Yields new Wide-Area C-IED Surveillance Capability

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A new technique that can remotely locate suspected IED sites over a wide area was developed by U.S. Navy scientists at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD). The technique employs airborne polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), processing multiple polarization analysis at the pixel level, thus providing detailed information from SAR imagery obtained through airborne or satellite surveillance. According to the developers, expected results include improved ability to conduct target detection and discrimination and supporting intelligence analysis. NSWCDD Dr. George Rogers and Houra Rais made the discovery while working on an Office of Naval Research sponsored project. The two scientists were named the two winners of the 2011 NSWCDD ILIR Excellence award.

The two scientists have also studied various aspects of SAR imagery, including  applications supporting the location of downed aircraft. Other researchers have already suggested the use of airborne polarimetric radar techniques to search for crash sites in remote areas, with radar surveillance cueing search and rescue teams to possible istes based on radar signals echoed from metal parts characteristic of aircraft segments. hypothetically, similar techniques could be employed for spotting specific metallic elements used in explosive materials. Other algorithms can monitor wide areas for specific and indicative changes over surface areas that seem homogenic.An example of such research was done by Son V. Nghiem,of the University of California, studying multi-polarisation SAR to monitor icing conditions on lakes.

“New detection techniques will lead to enhanced remote sensing capabilities with immediate application to asymmetric operations and battle space awareness in addition to intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting applications,” said Rais. According to NSWCDD, the discovery is expected to significantly impact U.S. warfighter’s target detection and discrimination capabilities in measurement and signatures intelligence.