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Firing Ranges
Firing Ranges and Weapon Testing Facilities have to live side by side with civilian activities like fishing and pleasure crafts. Needless to say, surveillance and security is imperative for the operation.

Firing Range surveillance will have to deal with targets like:

  • Pleasure boats Pleasure boats and yachts are often small in size and built from non-reflective plastic materials with a small Radar Cross Section. They have also high power engines and operates at high speeds.
  • Fishing Weapon testing areas are often attractive areas for fishing. Explosions stir up the bottom and provides food for the fish. Fishing vessels are circling the areas ready to enter as soon as firing halts.
  • Helicopters and pleasure airplanes Small helicopters and pleasure airplanes have got a small Radar Cross Section and high speed 100-150 kn. They fly over sea or land at low altitudes.
  • Commercial Aircrafts Some weapons cannot be tested if an aircraft passes the area regardless of altitude. Advanced land reflection processing is usied for aircraft detection.

Safety Trace Zones and Weapon Templates
A Safety Trace Zone (STZ) is defined as the danger area when firing is commenced. The Safety Trace Zone may have different shape, orientation and location depending on the weapons used.

The zones are usually created as dual layered providing different level of intrusion alarms:

  • Critical Zone This is the inner zone and the real danger area. Intrusion of this zone will create a Critical Intrusion Alarm and the range operators will have to halt firing.
  • Outer Zone Covering the Critical Zone is an outer zone, normally 2-3 nautical miles. Crafts intruding in this area will be raised on VHF or approaced by standby vessel and be notified that firing is commencing in the Critical Zone.

The VisSim firing range surveillance system allows easy creation and manipulation of the Safety Trace templates:

  • Create Zone A zone can be edited from scratch or an existing zone be duplicated and manipulated.
  • Zone Shape The shape of the zone can be any shape; circular, square, rectangular or multi polyonal.
  • Enabling/disabling zones Templates can be positioned and activated easily. Multiple templates can be active simultanously.

Intrusion Detection
Intrusion alarms are shown in TD3000 - Traffic Display with an optional audible alarm. Alarms are based on automatic radar detection from VisSim's ETS3000 - Extractor and Tracker, a tracker optimized for small target detection.

The operator also has the possibility to get high resolution radar viceo overlayed on the TD3000 - Traffic Display

The following screenshot shows TD3000 with activated weapon templates and raw radar video overlay:


Small Target Detection
The VEM3000 Video Extractor Module is designed especially with a focus on detection of smaller targets. Its sampling rate goes up to 120 MHz with an ADC resolution of 14 bits for radar video.

The system was developed with a focus on detection of small targets and operation in complicated clutter conditions.

The 3000 System has significantly high performance in severe rain and sea clutter conditions. The 3000 system is extended by several types of tracking masks and zones, which are improving performance of the system in areas where reflections and blanking areas are making problems for detection and tracking.

The system includes e.g. zones for “noise areas” where reflections/ghost echoes and other false targets are frequently experienced. Such areas will be configured with special detection algorithms. All tracking zones are controlled remotely from the Traffic Display and can be adjusted by experienced operators, if required.

Firing Range Surveillance Solutions
A Firing Range Surveillance system will normally consist of 2-3 sensor sites and a control centre. The following configuration drawing is only giving an overview of what may be included.

A configuration may consist of a single radar with Extractor & Tracker and a single Operator Traffic Display; no servers or any other sensor shown in the drawing. But it may also be extended to - for all practical purposes - any number of radars and other sensors and Operator Workstations, all distributed, but integrated in one or more TCP/IP networks.

  • Sensor Sites A sensor site may consist of any combination of the above shown sensors. It may further be extended by VisSim’s RTS3000 Transponder, VHF/DF, UHF, MF/HF, VisSim’s AtoN3000 Aids to Navigation Transponder and other sensors and applications as required.
  • VTS Operator Console A VTS Operator Console is based on a Traffic Display with S57 chart as a minimum, and may be extended by CCTV displays, VHF Communication, Met & Hyd, Wave height display and other as necessary. Note that many applications may also be based on pop-up menus in a Traffic Display instead of own display, which may be a good solution because the operator does not need to move focus away from the traffic situation to a separate display.
  • VTMS Server The VTMS server is the systems "brain". It can be installed in master/slave configuration for redundancy and may also have RAID hardisk as a further redundancy.

System Components
VTMS3000 - Vessel Traffic Managment System
VisSim’s Finring Range Surveillance system is based on an upgraded version of VisSim VTMS3000. The heart of the system is basically the same, but it is adapted to small target detection requirement. But, there is one significant difference: the radar Extractor & Tracker. This tracker, ETS3000, is one of the the masterpieces in VisSim’s library of applications.

Radars
The primary sensor for target detection and tracking is the radar with VisSim ETS3000 Extractor & Tracker. Coastal Sea Surveillance is based on information about all vessel traffic, especially very small crafts intruding the area at often high speed. It may be tempting to select radars at the higher end, and anybody who have been working with a 27’ parabola radar antenna may have difficulties accepting other antennas for surveillance, but to get real advantage of the high gain you will need a pretty high antenna location asl. So, the requirements should be carefully defined before radar is selected. Often a 12’ SWG antenna can do the job when ETS3000 is processing its output. Note that the radar may have a single transceiver mounted socalled downmast or upmast. It may also have dual transceivers mounted downmast.

ETS3000 - Radar Extractor & Tracker
The radar is providing reflected radar video, or echos to the extractor & tracking system, which is processing these data for target detection and tracking. ETS3000 Extractor & Tracker has been refined based on more than 10 years of operational experience from UK MOD firing ranges, where detection of smaller targets like wind surfers, canoes and small pleasure crafts must be detected before firing out at sea can take place.

Meteorology
The installation may use one or more sensors depending on the requirement.

AIS
AIS is used to identify targets. This eases the operation as the operator normally can check an identified target out of the potential harmful group of targets. AIS target data are integrated with radar data by the Multi-Sensor Tracker.

VHF3000
VHF is an essential tool for Surveillance Operations. It is used to communicate with own patrol vessels as well as communicate with vessels in order to identify them and mark them as “harmless”. It is also essential in search and rescue operations.

CCTV3000
A long range CCTV camera helps in identifying targets like radar echoes from floating debries and also smaller crafts without AIS. Note that we may integrate different types of cameras like IR camera, thermal camera and active laser camera.

Wave Height Detection
Information about sea state is important for assessment of traffic conditions, and also conditions for detection of smaller targets.

ETS3000 is using input from the wave height detection system for radar video threshold calculations. It is a good tool for VisSim’s Wave Height Detection Module is using data from the same radar as the radar detecton & tracking system to estimate wave height, length and direction.

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