Active electronic scanning has also added new dimensions for ground surveillance. Ground surveillance radars are commonly used in military and homeland security, for border protection and perimeter surveillance. Traditionally, such radars employ mechanical scanning to cover as wide a sector as possible. When suspicious movement is detected, the radar tracks it or stops and stares, to further process the Doppler signal for target identification. Electronic scanning eliminates the radar movement, thus scanning the entire area while tracking multiple targets at the same time, or focusing on specific areas over others.
Utah-based SpotterRF has recently introduced two miniature ground surveillance radars. Modestly called a “radar-equipped security system,' the M80 is the world's smallest (6.8 x 8.4 in.) and lightest (3 lb.) man-portable radar. It will detect a walking person 500 meters (1,640 ft.) away, at night or in bad weather. Slightly larger, the M600C weighs only 4 lb. and can double detection range to 1,000 meters. The unit contains all elements—processor, antenna, power communications and operating system, enabling operators to control the radar by smartphone.
SpotterRF plans to launch even smaller radars, designed for use in urban environment, effective at ranges of 100 meters and below. Beyond the ground surveillance role, the M600C can also be used as a wide-area sensor, cueing electro-optical sensors and remotely operated weapon stations at potential targets. Such automatic cueing enables remote operators to identify and engage threats effectively and safely at stand-off ranges.