Radar Sensor Systems

Kelvin Hughes
London, UK
+44 19 9280 5200

Kelvin Hughes recently announced a number of new coastal surveillance / Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) radar sensor sales references in Australia including installations in the Port of Melbourne and contracts awarded for Chevron (Barrow Island) and Port Hedland.

At Barrow Island off the coast of Western Australia, AMS Group (previously known as Australian Maritime Systems) won an order to upgrade the VTS system for Chevron's Oil and Gas production activities. Barrow Island is situated 30NM Northwest off the Pilbara coast of Western Australia between Point Samson and Onslow. Despite being Australia's leading site for oil production and one of its largest sites for gas production, Barrow Island retains Class A status as one of Australia's finest nature reserves.

The radar selected for the Barrow Island project is the Kelvin Hughes SharpEye™ SBS-800 series, for a number of reasons. First, the need to conduct maintenance is a costly and logistical burden, and the previous magnetron systems would require frequent maintenance routines. Not only is the island remote, it also requires complete self-sufficiency. SharpEye™ is a solid-state radar, meaning there is no magnetron and regular maintenance routines are not needed. What's more the reliability and MTBF is greatly improved.

Second, the SBS-800 series features Doppler processing and enhanced pulse compression, bringing sea clutter removal without removing the targets of interest, such as shipping and smaller vessels in the area. This capability extends to all ranges, and with tanker mooring for loading of oil via a submarine pipeline from the Island storage tanks to the mooring 10 kilometers east of the Island, this greatly enhances the safety of vessel traffic operating in the area.

At the Port of Melbourne in Victoria, a similar requirement led to the successful completion of a project involving the SBS-900 series featuring 2 dual redundant X-Band SharpEye™ transceivers. The difference between the SBS-800 and 900 is that the former locates the SharpEye™ upmast in the antenna rotator housing and the latter places it a few meters down-mast on the tower in a self-contained environmentally isolated enclosure. The key benefit here is that both systems — unlike magnetron-based units — do not require the usual additional infrastructure such as a hut at the foot of the radar tower that requires air conditioning, lighting etc.

In addition to the Doppler processing and enhanced pulse compression capability, the SharpEye™ receiver in the SBS-900 system supplied to the Port of Melbourne VTS includes frequency diversity, bringing additional target detection performance along with excellent small target detection and separation benefits. This brings the most state of the art VTS sensor technology to one of Australia's busiest ports for containerised and general cargo shipping. In total two SBS-900 systems have been installed by AMS and Kelvin Hughes in the Port of Melbourne.

Finally, Port Hedland, located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, chose the SharpEye™ SBS-900 X-Band radar system to be installed as part of a complete VTS system by AMS. Port Hedland is reported to be the highest tonnage port in Australia, supporting iron ore exports and other mining commodities as well as offshore natural gas field activities. This northern edge of Australia sees inclement sea conditions all year round, producing very high clutter conditions in which radars typically find it difficult to reliably detect targets of interest. The port itself experiences significant tidal conditions, which constrains vessel movements to a four-hour window.

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