Cassidian demonstrates Spexer 2000 security radar to Africa

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Cassidian is demonstrating its Spexer 2000 security radar to potential defence and civil security customers in Africa. The radar is tailored to border, infrastructure, perimeter and coastal surveillance.

The model was unveiled in December last year and is being offered for a wide variety of applications, including border surveillance, anti-poaching, harbour/port surveillance, cable theft prevention, mine security and airport security/perimeter protection, amongst others. Cassidian claims it is the first operational land-based surveillance radar using the latest Active Electronically Scanning Array (AESA) technology.

Grintek Ewation, the African reseller for the Spexer 2000 on Tuesday demonstrated the radar at Rietvlei outside Pretoria as part of its efforts to make defence forces and security agencies aware of the system.

At the end of March Spexer 2000 was demonstrated to the South African National Defence Force on the border with Mozambique. It has also been showcased in Cape Town and at Coega in Port Elizabeth, for harbour monitoring and for monitoring ships at anchor. Grintek plans to demonstrate the radar to the mining industry at Phalaborwa before it is returned to Germany next week. In addition, Cassidian demonstrated the radar to the Institute for Maritime Technology (IMT), which performs defence research for the South African Ministry of Defence.

Pieter Pistorius, Marketing Manager: Seucirty Systems at Grintek Ewation, said the radar “serves a need in the market” and is aimed at primarily at the security market, both military and commercial. In particular, the South African Navy and anti-poaching entities have expressed interest in the Spexer 2000.

The Spexer 2000 comes in two similar versions: one optimised for land border surveillance and the other (Spexer 2000 Coastal) optimised for coastal surveillance. The radar has an instrumented range of 40 kilometres, and can detect swimmers and other small objects out to 1 km. For border surveillance the radar can pick up vehicles, pedestrians and low flying aircraft.

Due to the X-band unit’s high Doppler and velocity resolution as well as its high sea clutter suppression, it is able to detect, track and classify even very small and slowly moving objects, such as rubber dinghies, as well as fast objects such as speedboats. However, the Spexer 2000 is able to detect low flying aircraft as well.

Because the radar is electronically scanned, it covers a 120 degree sector without moving, but can physically rotate 360 degrees on its mounting for further coverage. A camera mounted on top of the radar can be cued to the radar in order to identify suspicious objects – Grintek demonstrated a Carl Zeiss thermal imaging camera, as well as a laser rangefinder, on the Spexer 2000.

Alarm zones can be programmed into the radar, alerting the operator when an object is detected within a zone so that the operator does not have to continuously monitor radar readings, which can be displayed on an ordinary commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) computer system.

The radar is man-portable by two persons (and can be assembled within 20 minutes), enabling also temporary installations on a tripod. No cabinets and shelters are necessary as the radar is weather-proof and can withstand submersion in 1 metre of water. Optionally, it can be equipped with an air-conditioned radome to protect against extreme climatic conditions (e.g. extreme temperature, solar radiation or sand storms).

The Spexer 2000 forms part of Cassidian’s Spexer range, which starts with the Spexer 10, with a range of 100 metres, through the Spexer 500, Spexer 1000 (range 18 km), Spexer 1500 and Spexer 2000. Spexer 2000 is under production for a border surveillance system in the Middle East and a military version has been developed for the German Army.