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Cambridge Pixel supporting SAAF radar upgrade

Date: 25 January 2019

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The South African Air Force (SAAF) is upgrading its secondary surveillance radars (SSRs) at six airfield across the country, with help from Tellumat and Cambridge Pixel.

UK company Cambridge Pixel, a developer of radar display, tracking and recording sub-systems, is supplying its IFF (identification friend or foe) secondary radar processing and plot extraction technology to Tellumat, as part of the radar upgrade.

Tellumat engineers needed to replace obsolete and hard-to-maintain plot extraction hardware at the airfield sites and to deliver enhanced capabilities. These included IFF radar decoding, simplified maintenance and the provision of a modern plan position indicator (PPI)-style radar display.

Warren Whitfield, software development manager, Air Traffic Management division, Tellumat, said: “Cambridge Pixel’s modular SPx software library made it easy for our engineers to design a custom solution that interfaced with existing equipment, where it was still fit for purpose, and add the new capabilities, such as IFF radar, that our client required.

“This flexibility of the software modules approach has helped us to introduce new technology to extend the life of the Selex ATCR-33 and ATCR-2T radar systems, whilst minimising the cost of the upgrade programme.”

The two legacy plot extractors were replaced with dual independent systems containing Cambridge Pixel HPx radar interface cards as well as synchronous serial adapters to output the plot data to the remote sector control centres. A Windows-based user interface was built for each system using the display components from Cambridge Pixel’s SPx library to provide an integrated picture of maps, primary and IFF plots and scan-converted radar video.

Tellumat’s new custom solution – including Cambridge Pixel’s SPx Server plot extraction software – interfaces to the combined IFF video and mode pulses data stream for plot extraction. Plots are then passed to a remote display system for target tracking for ATC and mission control scenarios. A separate channel interfaces to the primary radar to extract primary plots.

Richard Warren, director of software, Cambridge Pixel, said “Cambridge Pixel’s SPx software library was specifically designed to allow system integrators, such as Tellumat, to build custom upgrades for radar processing applications like this.”

Cambridge Pixel’s IFF radar tracking technology is part of its hardware-agnostic SPx suite of software libraries and applications which provide highly flexible, ready-to-run software products or ‘modules-of-expertise’ for radar scan conversion, visualisation, radar video distribution, plot extraction, sensor fusion, target tracking and clutter processing.

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