In the trenches Shells tracked by radar

Published 26 September 2011

With the high costs of live fire training, the Pentagon wanted a shell-scoring system, and commissioned Cambridge Consultants to develop one; after fourteen months of development, the company unveiled its holographic radar scoring system, the Land and Surface Target Scorer (LSTS)

 Cambridge Consultants says it has successfully carried out trials tracking 5-inch shells travelling at over 1,000 miles per hour for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The radar developed specifically for this task was able to measure the trajectory and burst points of shells fired from a naval gun at a rate of one every three seconds — the first time radar has been used this way.

The technology will eventually be used by the Pentagon for training against attack by fast moving land and sea vehicles.
The terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000, where a small craft was detonated alongside the ship killing or injuring fifty-six American sailors, highlighted the need for the U.S. military to train against possible attack. The company says that with the high costs of live fire training, the DoD commissioned Cambridge Consultants to use its knowledge of radar technology to develop a shell-scoring system. After fourteen months of development, the company unveiled its holographic radar scoring system, the Land and Surface Target Scorer (LSTS).
The LSTS is installed on high-speed land or sea-surface target vehicles, and it uses receiver array panels combined with high-speed signal processing to detect and track small projectiles in the presence of very large radar clutter, such as that experienced on moving land and sea surface targets. During trials at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren Virginia, the system successfully detected, tracked, and located the point of impact of inert 5-inch projectiles, and was also able to plot the burst point of a high explosive round. Observers were able to see the results in near real-time on a laptop.
The demonstration test took place with the radar system mounted on a tethered pontoon to prove its detection and tracking capabilities over a zone within the specified 360 degree, 1,000 foot coverage. The demonstration team then conducted a rapid-fire test, during which all rounds were tracked through to impact on the water.
Dae Hong, Head of Target Systems Division, Naval Air Warfare Center, commented: “To witness a successful proof of concept constitutes a significant milestone for our program. To have produced a working prototype from concept in just 14 months is testament to the depth of knowledge and skills of the team at Cambridge Consultants. We look forward to developing the technology further and enhancing the training capabilities we are able to offer our troops.”  
The company says it expects that development of the LSTS system will be taken to the next level during 2011, concluding with a full-coverage demonstration, installed on a sea target moving at high-speed with results being continuously produced in real-time over an extended test period.