The management of challenging maritime problems such as territorial disputes, fisheries regulation and enforcement, pollution detection and prosecution, piracy, and disaster response demands effective means for persistent wide-area surveillance. Space-borne sensors offer a partial solution but, if continuous monitoring is essential, together with the ability to observe and characterise a variety of targets under evolving conditions, there is really only one family of technologies that will deliver the required capability in a cost-effective way: HF ‘over-the-horizon’ (OTH) radars.
Radars in the HF band, based on coastal sites, are used primarily for OTH monitoring of ship and air traffic over the ocean. In addition, they can provide uniquely detailed environmental information, including wave height and currents, as well as surface winds. Together these surveillance capabilities provide wide-area, real-time situational awareness on a grand scale. Moreover, numerous studies have shown that both acquisition and operating costs are far below those of competing technologies.
HF radars are already illuminating some of the seas and waterways of East and SouthEast Asia, with substantial networks operating continuously from China, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. A very modest number of low-power radars have operated at times from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, with few in regular operation. Overwhelmingly the missions of these radars have focussed on ocean current measurement and wave height estimation. This raises the question : if HF radars in the region were to proliferate and broaden their objectives, what might be the consequences?
A moment’s reflection leads us to distinguish between outcomes associated with individual countries exploiting HF radar for their own commercial, economic, military, security or scientific advantage, and multinational radar networks which combine their resources to monitor a large region of common interest, such as the South China Sea. The availability of shared, reliable, verifiable situational awareness would go far towards increasing confidence in trans-national maritime affairs and discourage non-compliance with legal and political agreements, as any transgressions would be evident to all.
In order to investigate such ideas, it is essential to have a realistic understanding of the capabilities and limitations of present-day radars, as well as some scientifically-based expectation of future developments. The principal goal of this talk is to provide an overview of these matters. Then, using some representative scenarios, we will explore the possible actions and reactions of the protagonists.
About the Speaker:
Stuart J. Anderson received the B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, in 1968 and 1972, respectively. In 1974, he was invited to join the team being assembled in the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organization to develop the Jindalee over-the-horizon radar system, where he assumed responsibility for ocean surveillance and remote sensing. He has worked as a Visiting Scientist in a number of countries, particularly the U.S., U.K., and France, as a consultant to their national HF radar programs. Dr Anderson maintains close links with Curtin University, Perth, as Adjunct Professor of Applied Physics, with the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, as Adjunct Professor of Mathematics, with the Université Paris VI, Paris, France, as Visiting Professor in science and engineering, and as Professor at the Université Rennes I, Rennes, France which, in 2005, awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contributions to radar science. In 2014 he retired from DSTO and took up a position of Adjunct Professor of Physics at the University of Adelaide. His active research interests span ionospheric physics, radiowave propagation, radio oceanography, electromagnetic scattering, inverse problems, signal processing, passive coherent location, and microwave polarimetry. He has published well over 300 journal papers, conference papers, book chapters, and reports in these fields. Dr Anderson was the recipient of the 1992 Australian Minister of Defence Science Award for Research Achievement for his pioneering contributions to over-the-horizon radar in both skywave and surface wave forms.