Reutech is testing its latest radar system by tracking aircraft flying at the AAD exhibition in Pretoria.
The company is developing the system to meet a potential future requirement for South African coastal surveillance and placed its RSR904/906 Xband surveillance radar at Fort Klapperkop, 40km from Waterkloof Air Force Base.
Anthony Green, product strategy executive at Reutech told Shephard that although TransNet National Ports Authority has some coastal radar in discreet locations near ports, South Africa does not have a network of coastal radar for security purposes.
Under President Zuma’s Operation Phakisa, the KwaZulu word for ‘hurry up’, there are plans to exploit South Africa’s maritime economy and one of the pillars of this strategy is to protect resources and industry in South African inshore waters.
Green said that radar sensors are one technology that can help achieve this goal. Although after the Second World War South Africa had 25 coastal radar for maritime security, mainly for submarine detection, the need for more coastal surveillance is reoccurring.
Although there is no registered programme, Green said there is an ’emerging requirement’ and that the RSR radar ‘fits the price perfect category’ as it is not a combat grade radar but is still very advanced.
RSR906 is a low probability of intercept frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar that is capable of air and maritime surveillance out to 80km. It weighs 190kg and can detect small aircraft out to 30km.
The 904 variant is smaller weighing just 60kg and is capable of ground surveillance out to 20km and can detect individual people at 812km.
Green said that eight 906 variants have been sold to militaries in the Middle East with one in the Far East for air surveillance. He added that the system is used as a ‘gap filler’ to complement existing surveillance systems and expand radar coverage. Three have been sold to a research institute in South Africa.
RSR906 can be provided in different configurations from placement on a pneumatic mast or fixed structure or even fitted to the back of a pickup truck to provide a mobile air surveillance capability.