Past Features

April 6, 2017

A Question about Elbit's radar
Did CBP test it properly?

One of eight camera towers being built -- just north of where President Trump plans an impassable wall.
Glenn Spencer -- April 6, 2017
Can the Coronado Towers see into a forest?
    Ever since the first electronic border fence --- the Boeing virtual fence (it failed) --- the idea has been to use radar to tell cameras where to point. Why do they need this? Because the cameras have zoom lenses. If they are zoomed out they can see a large area, but not small things like people. If they are zoomed in they see a small area --- sort of looking through a straw --- but that's not good for searching for people who might be anywhere in 360 degrees.
    The idea behind radar was to detect people. When that happens, the cameras point in that direction and zoom in --- spotting the people. In theory it works, but ground perimeter radar has a problem with things like trees and other foliage --- and it must have a line-of-sight..
    Challenges to perimeter surveillance radar include high clutter area operations. In the range of frequencies used almost all objects return some reflection from the radar. So foliage presents both a barrier to the radar energy as well as an area in which it is difficult to detect a moving target due to the high signal return from the foliage. --- Wikipedia
    One company, Elbit Systems, has advertised a new foliage penetrating radar.
    Elbit Systems won the $148 million contract to build eight radar controlled cameras on towers in and near the Coronado National Monument. Three towers that ABP looked at are in an area surrounded by an oak forest. Was the contract awarded on the basis of Elbit's radar being able to penetrate this forest?
    There are serious questions that must be asked. Were Elbit's towers tested for their ability to penetrate foliage like an oak forest? Were tests run in the Coronado National Forest? Even then, the topography appears to offer areas open to smugglers. Were line-of-sight models used?
    Watch this video and see what you think.