Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Robin Radar launches IRIS as first ‘no compromise’ drone radar

Dutch Radar Technology Company Robin Radar Systems has today launched IRIS®, the only radar in the world to combine all important performance capabilities into a single package.

Developing a purpose-built drone radar capable of detecting and tracking drones accurately is a real challenge, but an important one. Radar forms the heart of most detection and tracking systems at airports, military sites, prisons – any high-security area.

The behaviour and build of drones also continue to change. Hovering drones, swarms, minute and evolving designs make their detection in airspace a real challenge. A lot is being asked of drone radar systems today.

The main problem is: for a radar to classify a drone – distinguish it from a bird or another object – it needs to spend ‘time on target’. However, to then track this object’s path, the radar needs to have a fast ‘update rate’, to rotate and update quickly. The result? An inevitable compromise between the ability to detect the drone and then track and follow its movements.

That is, until now. Robin Radar Systems today launched a ‘no compromise drone radar’ designed to deliver maximum performance on every front.

IRIS® uses micro-doppler classification technology to identify drones by their propellers, and its patented design includes antennas back to back rotating antennas. The result: every target in airspace is seen twice on each rotation. That marries time on target with an ample update rate of every second for the tracking.

Along with balancing accurate classification with tracking, IRIS® has been created with three key competences in mind: position tracking in 3D with precise height reporting, full ‘dome-like coverage’ and ease of integration with other systems.

Siete Hamminga, Robin CEO said: “We challenged our engineers to produce a radar that does not compromise on any of the important elements that separate the men from the boys in the radar market.

“There isn’t one functionality that makes IRIS® special, but many functionalities combined. No one else has managed to do that in one single radar system.

“There are some great radars out there, but what all of them seem to have in common is this inherent trade-off in capability. Long range usually means heavy with limited coverage. To achieve 360-degree coverage takes multiple radar systems. Lightweight usually means low power and limited coverage and range. This isn’t the case with IRIS®.

“The new radar tracks drones in 3D, providing height information on all targets. This is a really important function in countering drones. Security personnel need as much information as possible to be able to pinpoint and mitigate a threat quickly.

“Then there’s its impressive coverage volume of 360-degrees in azimuth and 60 degrees in elevation. That means IRIS® is even able to detect hovering drones – something that is almost impossible for most radars.

“The majority of radars cover less than 100-degrees. Some radars are able to cover 360-degrees, and even fewer can combine a high elevation coverage too.

“But one of the most surprising qualities of the new radar is its petite size. Weighing in at 25kg, 554mm diameter and 623mm height, it proves to pack a lot of big functions into one small radar. It can even be lifted by one person!

“The reason this is important is because radar is normally just one core component of a fully integrated solution, with the capacity to mitigate, displace or remove the drone threat after its detection. Because of its small and lightweight size, IRIS® can be transported and installed really easily.

“Along with these important capabilities, we can be proud of an instrumented range of 5km. IRIS® currently detects drones at 4km distance and can classify them (from birds) at 1.4km.

“We’re working on bringing that up to a 2km classification distance. That’s the beauty of all of our systems, continuous software updates make them future-proof. There’s a lot we can do to even further boost the performance of IRIS®, and there’s a lot already in the planning.

“We set out to develop technology that is accessible, affordable and which truly does not compromise. We absolutely achieved that in IRIS®.”

Wiebe de Jager

Wiebe de Jager is the founder of Dronewatch (available in Dutch and English). Wiebe is an experienced drone pilot (EASA Specific category certified) and has published a number of bestselling books about drone photography and cinematography.

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