Marine and Shipbuilding Monthly Journal
Seoul Ra-11997(ISSN: 2005-3061)


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    Radar renaissance with HALO enlightenment

    A new radar for commercial applications supports Navico’s drive to bring real innovation to market via products that simultaneously achieve higher performance and lower cost.
    Navico Commercial Marine Division launched Simrad HALO™ Pulse Compression Radar in May to plug a significant performance gap in the tug and workboat markets. HALO is the world’s most affordable solid-state, open-array radar system with pulse compression technology for non-SOLAS applications aboard commercial vessels.

    The significance of this claim requires a brief recap of major advances in radar technology over the last 15 years. These take in the arrival of Ethernet protocols that improve data distribution, the emergence of multi-functional displays and the development of post-processing algorithms that enhance task execution.

    However, the balance between cost and value over that time remained broadly static, until the demilitarisation of affordable Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) radar systems for general or specific use. FMCW radars have been quickly adopted in the world’s recreational fleets given their cost to value ratio. In recent years, FMCW has also increased its presence in commercial vessels, especially in the general tug market.

    Navico is one of the world’s leading marine electronics companies, based principally on its share in the recreational boating sector, but has set out ambitions to become one of the top three players in commercial maritime. In line with this aim, HALO combines the advantages of Navico’s Simrad FMCW Broadband 4G™ Radar with the pulse radar systems traditionally used over longer ranges in commercial operations, at a significantly lower cost.

    “With the launch of the new HALO radar into the commercial market we have introduced reliable solid-state technology at a fraction of the cost of existing commercial solid state radar currently available on the market. ” says Jose Herrero, MD Commercial Marine Division, “By introducing the new radar, even the smallest fleets can take advantage of the comprehensive features, with a perfect mix of near and distant range, reliability and resolution without the associated warm-up time, power consumption, costly maintenance or harmful emissions.”

    HALO radar detects targets as close as 20 feet (6 metres) - well within pulse radar’s short-range ‘blind spot’ - while delivering exceptional long-range performance up to 72 nautical miles.

    The significance of the ‘solid-state’ transceiver is that no magnetron is called for, and therefore no manual tuning required as the magnetron heats up or ages. Not having to rely on a magnetron to transmit a signal also allows the radar to resume full operation instantly from standby and in just 16-25 seconds from powered-off - avoiding the two- to three-minute warm-up time associated with traditional pulse radar systems.

    HALO radar transmits a blend of short-through-long ‘CHIRPs’ in 500-2,800 bursts per second to cover a full radar range. Pulse compression technology delivers a mix of close and long-range detection, precise target definition, and low clutter. Under most circumstances, HALO has the ability to detect and track targets within 3m of the host vessel. It uses Digital Sidelobe Reduction and Directional Sea Clutter Rejection to enhance the detection and discrimination of smaller targets, while Sector Blanking eliminates unwanted reflections for less clutter on screen and delivers an easily understandable screen view.

    A combined radar data image of the multiple pulses is merged using high speed digital signal processing software and sent to the multi-functional display.
    HALO radar provides Beam Sharpening for enhanced target separation control. In Dual Range mode, HALO functions as two radars in one - monitoring two distance ranges simultaneously with independent displays, controls, target tracking and MARPA (mini-automatic radar plotting aid) target tracking.

    MARPA target tracking, combined with HALO radar’s close-range performance and target separation, gives operators the ability to track commercial and smaller recreational craft at close range in busy harbours, ports, and unfamiliar waters.

    HALO radar is also radiation safe to people within the swing circle of the array on all models. According to Navico, this makes it the ideal choice for non-SOLAS passenger vessels and smaller workboats, safe to mount almost anywhere on board and safe to operate close to passengers and crew.

    As the world’s first radar capable of performing as “two radar systems in one”, Herrero described HALO as a “breakthrough”. "It's the closest we've had to a paradigm shift in the industry in a long time," he said.
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