Blighter radar helps secure American border (14 September 2009)

Plextek, the Cambridge-based electronics and communications design consultancy today announced that its Blighter radar is helping to detect and track illegal immigrants trying to enter the USA across the hills on the Mexican Border. Frustrated by the current intruder interception rate in their local area, a group of ranch owners have developed their own state-of-the-art multi-sensor surveillance systems, utilising the Blighter radar, to protect their land and help the enforcement organisations intercept and apprehend the immigrants.

The Blighter radar system detects humans walking over the rocky, hilly landscape that defines a substantial part of the USA/Mexico border. The Blighter electronic-scanning Doppler Ground Surveillance Radar is uniquely able to detect humans in this complex landscape. The combination of advanced Doppler movement filtering combined with fast electronic-scanning allows the Blighter radar to ignore the rocky landscape yet still detect humans walking slowly through the hills at ranges up to 4km.

The Blighter radar's tall beam allows it to be sited on the hill tops, surveying the whole area with an eagle-eye view. In a single sweep both the hill crests as well as the valleys/canyons are simultaneously scanned whilst still being able to see objects as close as 20 metres away. Any movement detected by the Blighter radar is clearly displayed by coloured markers on a map of the local area. The display can provide additional information about each target including its precise location, size and speed. Zones can be easily defined within the map, which generate audible alerts when an intruder enters or crosses the zone. Zones can also be defined to exclude or ignore areas of known traffic. An optional target tracker called BlighterTrack allows the operators to see the path travelled by the intruders and at the same time filters out unwanted radar detections from wildlife and wind-blown vegetation.

One of the ranch owners commented: "Of all the surveillance equipment we use here the Blighter radar has proven itself to be the most solid, reliable performer of all. It simply never falters. We regularly experience early morning coastal fog that renders our IR cameras useless. The radar then becomes the primary asset at our disposal. In conjunction with the recently added BlighterTrack software, the targets presented are nearly always verifiable illegals. We have reported many groups of aliens based on Blighter's alarms alone with which the Border Patrol has made apprehensions. With the radar's feature set we can also apply settings which pretty much rule out all false targets."

The complete surveillance system is comprised of the Blighter radar, high performance day/night cameras, acoustic listening and warning system, unattended Ground Sensors and an advanced wireless communication system. All this equipment is remote from a mains power supply and is therefore totally reliant on solar power. The Blighter radar features advanced power saving technology so that maximum operational time is achieved even during the winter months.

The complete Radar system including all power monitoring and control can be remotely accessed over the Internet allowing the operators to control and monitor the system from the comfort and safety of their homes. So far this year the system, operating on an 'as required' basis over several kilometres of the border line, has been responsible for detecting hundreds of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the ranchers' properties.

Plextek will be demonstrating its Blighter radars at ASIS 2009, September 21-24, Anaheim, CA, US on stand 963.