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Proceedings Paper

Detection of contraband brought into the United States by aircraft and other transportation methods: a changing problem
Author(s): Joseph A. Bruder; Eugene F. Greneker; F. E. Nathanson; T. C. Henneberger
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Paper Abstract

The problem of conducting surveillance and detection of aircraft, boats, and vehicles bringing contraband into remote areas of the United States has changed dramatically within the past 20 years. This dramatic change resulted from the evolutionary adaptation of advanced technology to perform the surveillance and detection role. Unlike the predecessor ground-based radars deployed along the CONUS in the mid-1970s, the aerostat radar systems are effective in the detection of low-flying aircraft in mountainous areas where ground clutter formerly prevented low-altitude target detection. While showing promise, the early aerostat systems lacked the sophistication necessary to provide the surveillance capability required during all operating conditions. Land and sea clutter returns often masked the small radar cross-section targets of interest. During the 1980 time period, new signal processing technology offered a solution to the problems identified during early aerostat operations. New performance requirements were formulated, resulting in the development and deployment of the tethered aerostat radar systems along the southern border of the United States and at specific sites in the Caribbean. Testing of the new generation aerostats was conducted using techniques to be discussed in this paper. Testing revealed that, while many of the problems that limited the usefulness of the earlier aerostat radars have been solved, more subtle problems existed. These problems have been identified, and solutions are being implemented. In addition, there are marine and land surveillance applications for the tethered aerostat radar system that have been studied, and potential improvements could be incorporated for the future detection and tracking of marine and vehicular traffic.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 August 1991
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 1479, Surveillance Technologies, (1 August 1991); doi: 10.1117/12.44553
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph A. Bruder, Georgia Tech Research Institute (United States)
Eugene F. Greneker, Georgia Tech Research Institute (United States)
F. E. Nathanson, Georgia Tech Research Institute (United States)
T. C. Henneberger, U.S. Customs Service (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1479:
Surveillance Technologies
Sankaran Gowrinathan; Raymond J. Mataloni; Stanley J. Schwartz, Editor(s)

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