Radar delivers a multitude of information in all weather conditions and paves the way for the reconnaissance of unknown territories – on water, on land or in the air. With its extensive know-how, Fraunhofer FHR covers the entire spectrum of high frequency and radar techniques for defense purposes.

Smart, modular, multi-modal and compact. These are the special demands placed on future radar systems, demands that have formed the focus of research at Fraunhofer FHR for many years already. In addition to the surveillance and reconnaissance techniques, the scientists also investigate innovative concepts for camouflaging internal radar systems as well as for jamming or deceiving enemy systems. Fraunhofer FHR evaluates new camouflage materials and methods in the course of regular measurement campaigns that are carried out for partners of the institute. Here, the scientists attach great importance to ensuring that the camouflage scenarios are as realistic as possible, for optimal camouflage is always adapted in line with the geographical and climatic conditions in the operational area. In this way, the German Armed Forces and industry benefit from an objective and independent examination of their material. In addition, the institute provides assistance in the development of modern processes for the jamming of external radar on all platforms.

In the imaging area, Fraunhofer FHR delivers internationally acclaimed results. It carries out pioneering work in the area of Moving Target Indication (MTI) and is also an international leader in this field. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR focus intensively on the detection, tracking and classification of ground (GMTI), maritime (MMTI) and airborne targets.

In particular, the detection of compact aircraft is a theme of growing importance. The scientists are currently investigating several approaches to remedy the capability shortfalls of the customers in the fastest possible manner.

The researchers provide fast and flexible solutions with software-defined radar: intelligent software gives radar a greater degree of freedom and a wide spectrum of applications. The application of machine learning techniques and other methods from the area of computer science clears the way for cognitive radar. Research activities focus on the development of a radar system which, to the greatest extent possible, automatically adapts to the specific task and the respective conditions. This reduces personnel requirements and assists operators during situation assessment.

Fraunhofer FHR combines these skills with miniaturized systems, a further research field. Thanks to the development of its own chips on a silicon-germanium (SiGe) basis, complete systems can be constructed on a surface of just a few square centimeters. This miniaturization not only reduces the volumes required for assembly but also lowers the costs and power requirements of the system. In addition, these innovative systems also respond to new requirements: surveillance and reconnaissance personnel have a growing demand for indoor applications, particularly in urban environments. The agility and size of the carrier platforms used are of particular importance. Thanks to SiGe technology, high-performance millimeter wave radar systems are now available for use in UAVs.

With its broad and in-depth experience, Fraunhofer FHR provides comprehensive counseling and judgment capabilities for its partners in the private and public sectors. The institute also brings its expertise to bear in various NATO task groups and other bodies. This facilitates the creation of synergy effects that promote knowledge creation in national and international cooperations. In joint projects with industrial partners, the institute continuously integrates its research results into practical applications and products.