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Serving as the prime contractor to the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), Daronmont developed, installed and conducted site trials of a High Frequency Surface Wave Radar known as SECAR. The primary aim was to supply Coastwatch with comprehensive all weather 24 hour surveillance services and data utilising the technology of the surface wave radar.

SECAR was developed as a bistatic (separate transmit and receive sites) radar which provides greater range for the same power as monostatic radars and eliminates ‘blind zones’. The system uses the superior FMCW waveform and operates over a large frequency range of 4-16MHz. SECAR’s flexible and mature architecture allows operators to be kept in the loop which results in enhanced target detection in real-time. The system can be remotely operated and is capable of detecting both air and surface targets simultaneously.

Some of the tasks performed on the project include:

  • Development of operational concepts and specifications;
  • Simulation modelling of the HF environment (noise, isolation and performance);
  • Design and development of RF signal conditioning, RF signal calibration and spectrum monitoring;
  • Software development and integration with COTS equipment and DSTO developed radar equipment;
  • In-house real-time embedded radar processing software;
  • Control and Operator Workstation HMI;
  • Custom designed containerisation of the radar equipment into 3 20’ ISO shelters;
  • Engagement with the Indigenous authorities of proposed deployment sites;
  • Site surveying, preparation of remote locations for deployment where access was via helicopter or boat;
  • Power Generation and Remote Monitoring;
  • Decommissioning of the radar, and
  • Restoring the deployment sites back to their original condition at the conclusion of the contract.

The system was deployed and trialled in mid 2000 at Bathurst Island and Stingray Head in the northern regions of Australia.  Defence validated the results and also performed independent testing of the system. Based on the successful results from the trial, Defence awarded a 2 year contract to Daronmont to deploy the radar for surveillance in the Torres Strait (Northern Australia).

This phase provided for an upgrade to the existing system which involved the following:

  • Development for increased software capability and remote distribution of software and system components to 4 sites interconnected by WAN technologies;
  • Development, integration and test of new custom and COTS software to manage remote deployment hardware;
  • Reintegrated system redeployed to 2 new sites with operations controlled from RAAF Base Edinburgh and a maintenance facility at Daronmont’s Adelaide office.

SECAR resulted in the development of the first indigenous HF surface radar system with proven detection performance.  Defence trials of the system proved its ability to detect both air and surface targets beyond the horizon. The system has the capability to provide surveillance coverage of key areas of Australia’s northern approaches.

Proven in trials, SECAR provides an affordable solution to the detection and tracking of surface vessels and low flying aircraft.  SECAR can be integrated as part of any radar or situational awareness network with potential for the following applications:

  • Around the Clock, all weather 24/7 Coastal Surveillance
  • Surface / Airborne Targets
  • Trip-wire for Other Assets
  • Remote Operation and Monitoring
  • Protection of Fisheries Resources
  • Protection of Off-Shore Assets (e.g. Oil Rigs)
  • Protection from Illegal Entry
  • Sea State Monitoring
  • Ship Traffic Control

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