What are the problems?

The Canadian Arctic is an essential part of Canada’s environmental, economic, and defence policies, and a fundamental component of its cultural identity. As new challenges arise with the evolving geopolitical significance of the region and environmental climate change, accurate and persistent monitoring will become crucial ensuring national security and public safety. For example, the Northwest Passage is rapidly becoming an important shipping route. Safe passage and the free flow of goods through this area requires a enhanced air and maritime domain awareness along this route. However, surveillance of the Arctic is challenging due to its vastness, remoteness, and periods of extended darkness and reduced visibility. New approaches are needed to address these challenges.


What is C-CORE doing?

Through the Department of National Defence (DND) All-Domain Situational Awareness (ADSA) program, C-CORE has developed an Arctic surveillance concept using a passive radar mounted on a high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) uncrewed air system (UAS). This approach exploits the persistent illumination of the region using the global navigational satellite system (GNSS) transmitters. This work investigated optimized detection geometries, signal processing techniques, HALE UAS candidates, concept of operations, and communication/downlink strategies.



What does this mean for the Arctic Surveillance?

This solution provides persistent monitoring of the Canadian Arctic. The passive radar system design reduces the power and load requirements on the HALE UAS, reducing the cost and extending the time in operation. Moreover, by using a common third-party transmitter, this passive radar system does not ’broadcast’ its operation the way a traditional active radar system would, which increases the system resilience to deceptive techniques. Finally, the bistatic configuration of the radar system allows multiple viewing geometries, offering improved detection of targets, including stealth targets.

While this concept is developed for Arctic surveillance, it is not restricted to any region and can be deployed anywhere across the globe. It also has a flexible design that can be applied to the growing number of large-constellation communication satellites that are commencing operations. This work is a first step towards changing the way knowledge and information is collected in the most remote regions of the world.