Seaborne passive radars

Editor’s Choice Article

A team of scientists from the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology of the Warsaw University of Technology (WEiTI PW) has developed a prototype technology of passive radars which can be used in the Navy. The publication entitled “Experimental Seaborne Passive Radar” describing the research carried out during the APART-GAS exercises organised in the Baltic Sea as part of NATO has been distinguished as the Editor’s Choice Article.

The scientific article entitled “Experimental Seaborne Passive Radar” ( by Gustaw Mazurek, PhD Eng.; Prof. Krzysztof Kulpa; Mateusz Malanowski, PhD Eng., professor at the University of Technology and Aleksander Droszcz, MSc Eng. from the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology of the Warsaw University of Technology (WEiTI PW) has been distinguished as the Editor's Choice Article. The material describes the practical results of research on passive radar installed on a ship sailing in the Baltic Sea in autumn 2019 as part of NATO exercises: APART-GAS (Active Passive Radar Trials – Ground-based, Airborne, Seaborne).

“While the technology of stationary passive radars is already quite well mastered, radars on mobile platforms are still a novelty” – emphasises Prof. Mateusz Malanowski – “This is one of the reasons why the results presented in the article have been appreciated.”

The NATO exercises in 2019 were attended by 70 people from 9 NATO countries and Switzerland. In addition to experimental passive radar systems on mobile platforms, a prototype of the ground-based Polish PCL-PET system was also presented in the exercises. This system was created by the PIT-Radwar company together with the Warsaw University of Technology and the company AM Technologies. In addition to passive coherent location (PCL) radar technology, the system also uses passive emitter tracking (PET) technology.

“To detect a given object, we do not need to emit electromagnetic waves that could reveal the location of our device to the opponent” – explains Gustaw Mazurek, PhD Eng. – “Our solutions are based on signals emitted by radio, television or even mobile phone transmitters. This creates completely different possibilities for the implementation of early warning systems.”

Undetectability, although the greatest, is not the only advantage of passive radars. The lack of the need to allocate bandwidth for radio emission and the simple and cheap – compared to active radars – system construction are also crucial. During the exercises passive radars successfully detected aircrafts such as F-16, Casa-295, experimental rockets of the Polish company Space Forest and navy ships. What’s more, during the exercises, detailed analyses were carried out on the possibility of imaging the terrain regardless of weather conditions. This allows for monitoring the entire battlefield regardless of whether the sun is shining or a storm is raging.

Today, WEiTI PW scientists are leaders in conducting research and development of passive radar technology. In 2021, Prof. Mateusz Malanowski, together with Prof. Piotr Samczyński and Prof. Krzysztof Kulpa, were awarded the prestigious NATO SCI Panel Excellence Award for their lifetime achievements. Prof. Krzysztof Kulpa and Prof. Piotr Samczyński, as part of the research work of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, lead groups improving this technology. These teams bring together leading scientists and industry and army representatives from around the world specialising in radar technologies, in particular in innovative solutions for passive radars and the fusion of passive and active radars. Polish scientists were also the leading speakers at the prestigious international conference RadarConf2022 held in New York.