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A mobile radar developed for weather research and storm prediction can now have military uses as well. Researchers at the University of Oklahoma have been developing an advanced mobile radar designed to better predict tornado formations.
The HORUS, a mobile radar testbed, is funded in part by a $5.4 million grant by the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research.
Mounted on the back of a truck, the team drives the radar into the field and sets it up, ahead of the storm. “You have that reference point of see this beautiful thunderstorm and can relate what you see visually with what you see in the data,” says David Bodine, Research Scientist at the Radar Innovations Lab.
Mark Yeary, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, explains: “A radar like this relies a lot on what we call software-defined radio technology. It’s all of the technology that probably goes into your cellphone.” “With this technology, the antenna will remain stationary, however, it will electronically beam steer into the area of interest,” he said.
When complete, the U.S. Navy will use HORUS in its many missions for public safety.
The plan is to use the radar for weather monitoring and air traffic surveillance and control.
The model combines, for the first time, two weather radar technologies – the one that reads data quickly and the one that reads data in great detail, polarimetric radars and phased array radars.
The HORUS, named after the Egyptian god of the sky, whose eye is said to be all-seeing, is an all-digital polarimetric phased array radar. Combining the two readings tells meteorologists what kind of precipitation exists in the cloud.
The team is still a year away from completing its prototype, still designing the electronics and mechanical parts, according to a news9.com and normantranscript.com.