LONDON Signal processing specialist RF Engines Limited (RFEL) is to develop an algorithm and the optimum architecture for determining the fine time of arrival of classified signals for SELEX Galileo, the military surveillance, navigation and tracking division of Italian engineering and defense group Finmeccanica.
RFEL (Isle of Wight, England) will also implement the designs in Field Programmable Gate Arrays.
While details of the application are restricted, RFEL says the airborne design will provide a significant improvement in the localization of the target signals.
The techniques employed use the difference in the time of arrival of an electronic signal, at two or more detectors, to provide data that enables the direction or angle of the signal from the receiver to be calculated very accurately.
The difference in the distance travelled by the relevant signals may be miniscule, but, says RFEL, with sufficient processing power, the data can be used to rapidly derive the required information.
Commenting on the work, John Summers, RFEL’s CEO, said the technically challenging contract is a good example of the growing demand the company is seeing for exclusive design work. "It draws not only on our ability to create high performance designs that identify and process RF signals in real time but also to deliver solutions in a compact, power saving way which is vital for airborne applications."
Summers added the contract required RFEL to initially study a number of options, including various threshholds for initiating action, to add to the sum of knowledge being accumulated by the overall SELEX Galileo system; for example, looking at either the waveform envelope or the fine structure of the waveform.
Other critical features of the design include the probabilities of detection and of false alarms for various signal-to-noise ratios and pulse rise-times. The design is also future–proofed to allow for planned feature enhancements to the overall system.
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