Types of Radars used in ships

Ships rely on S-band and X-band frequency radar systems for navigation and detection of incoming ships or land obstacles to avoid a collision. The radars use a rotating antenna to discover the surrounding area of the ship. It can detect targets and display the information on the screen.

Radar is an important component of every ship. It ensures ships’ safety across the sea and near the shore.

In commercial ships, radars are integrated to form a complete system of marine instruments. These instruments include chart plotters, a two-way marine radio, sonar, a satellite navigation system like the GPS (Global Positioning System), and emergency locators (SART).

The current integrated system provides a 3D display to allow navigators to monitor the ship’s surrounding environment, the area above or below the ship, and overlays of the satellite imaging.

1. Naval and Coastguard Radar

These shipborne radars search the surrounding environment and provide 3D surveillance.

It detects small targets in a longer range while in severe weather. It uses both X and S-band frequency mechanisms to ensure high reliability on detections of small objects in distance. Solid radar requires minimal maintenance routines and uses low power patented pulse sequence.

2. Naval Fire-Control radar

Fire-control radar is designed to provide information to navy officers on how to control their weapons to hit the target. They use radio waves to accurately track the target and provide the exact location to avoid losing the target.

3. VTS and Coaster Surveillance Radars

This type of radar system provides Vessel Traffic Management Services (VMTS) and ships with early warning of an incoming target. They ensure safety and security along with the ports, coastlines, or waterways. The radars provide information to the navy officers on any remotely pilot vehicles and objects on a long-range.

4. Small watercraft Radar

Used for small boats and designed using SharpEyeTM SCV for small crafts to detect a target at a range of 24NM. The large shipborne use SharpEyeTM surveillance.

5. Commercial /Merchant Marine Navigation Radar

This marine radar provides a safe navigation watch. The radar is used to identify, track, position vessels, and safely navigate the vessel from one point to another. The radar tracks the exact range of the target in order to avoid collisions. Uses X-band frequency to sharpen the image of the target.

6. High-Frequency Over-the-Horizon (HF OTH) Radar

This radar uses a high-frequency electromagnetic spectrum of 3-30 MHZ to detect targets or objects at a range of 2000 nautical miles. It detects other small ships, ballistic missiles, ocean waves, and approaching aircraft.

7. Frequency-modulated Continuous-wave (FM-CW) Radar

This kind of radar changes the frequency with time. To get the actual range of the target, the frequency of the transmitted and received frequency is recorded. The radar model changes the frequency in a linear manner to give room for up and down frequency alternation.

8. Electronically Scanned Phased-Array Radar

In this type of radar, a scanned phased-array antenna beam placed in one direction scans the area without moving the entire navigation system. The beam switching enables the radar to detect incoming targets simultaneously.

9. Simple Pulse Radar

This is the most common type of radar which consists of repetitive short-duration of pulses to monitor any moving object. It uses Doppler frequency to accurately measure the distance of the moving objects.

10. 3D Radar

The radar measures the exact location of the target object in two dimensions. It can determine the angle of elevation on the target object. It has an automatic or manually rotated antenna to determine the target range.

Learn More

Check out our article on the errors and limitations of marine radar.

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