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She was known as the ‘Mistress of the Dark’ and became a cult figure in the 1970s and 1980s presenting horror movies on US television networks. Now Elvira is back once again. Not this time as a gothic-inspired splatter-film anchor, but instead as a powerful Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) X-band (8.5 gigahertz/GHz to 10.68GHz) detection radar produced by Robin Radar Systems in the Netherlands. UAV detection and defence systems are very much the talk of this year’s UK Security Exhibition held in London between 28 November and 29 November, and Rapid Radar Systems already has some customers for Elvira. These include the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force) which has one of the radars installed at Woensdrecht Air Base in the south of the country. In addition, the firm has supplied systems to customers in Germany, Turkey and the UK, alongside several others in the Asia-Pacific region.

The radar uses a frequency-modulated continuous wave architecture, and has an instrumented range of 2.6 nautical miles/nm (five kilometres/km) and a classification range of 0.6nm (1.2km). Performing surveillance across a 360 degree radius, offering a ten degree angle of elevation, the radar cleverly uses micro-Doppler processing to determine if a flying object is a UAV or a bird. This function allows the radar to detect the spinning rotor blades of the UAV, and hence determine its identity. Company representatives told MONch during the show that it is continually refining and modifying its designs in response to customer feedback and requirements, and recently introduced a satellite compass into the architecture to aid Elvira’s correct positional calibration before use.

The entire Elvira UAV detection radar architecture can be mounted on an elevating platform in a vehicle to ease mobility. (Photo: Thomas Withington)

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