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Millimeter-Wave Radar Data Information Center

MV-22 operating in dusty brown-out conditions with millimeter-wave imagery insert.

MV-22 operating in dusty brown-out conditions with millimeter-wave imagery insert. (Millimeter Wave Data Informaction Center, mfrf-data.org)

Operating in degraded visual environments (DVEs) is a leading contributor to rotorcraft accidents and reduced operational effectiveness. DVEs occur when visibility conditions are reduced to the point where situational awareness and aircraft control cannot be maintained as comprehensively as they are in normal visual meteorological conditions. Common DVE conditions include smoke, fog, rain, darkness, and brownout (a helicopter induced dust cloud due to the downwash of the rotor system).

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Multi-Function RF (MFRF) program seeks to develop a multifunction onboard sensor to perform a variety of tasks that enhance the survivability of rotorcraft and also provide lethality improvements for combat missions in zero-zero conditions. The sensor is intended to give pilots the following: ability to land safely in brownout/whiteout conditions; collision avoidance with other aircraft, obstacles and cables; terrain following; weather avoidance; and ground mapping. Planned lethality enhancements include ISR for target detection and ID, weapons guidance, and data link. This program does not intend to perform at currently accepted frequencies but seeks to develop a common RF system that will use agile frequencies, waveforms, and apertures to optimally interweave these functions according to the aircraft's missions.

This program seeks to demonstrate a multifunctional, software-adaptable system architecture which will provide for future expanded capability without adding new hardware. It is expected that this “plug and play” multifunctional system could be employed as a replacement sensor on existing aircraft, as an insertion into future aircraft, such as the Joint MultiRole (JMR) aircraft, or as a sensor suite suitable for unmanned aircraft. This will require antenna architectures that are flexible and that consume as little area and power as possible.

The Millimeter-Wave Radar Data Information Site was developed as a collaboration between DARPA and the Defense Systems Information Analysis Center (DSIAC) in order to provide access to DoD, other Federal agencies, industry and academia millimeter-wave (MMW) radar W-band data collected to support DVE studies related to understanding key MFRF phenomena, system performance, MFRF algorithm development, system trades, etc.  The data collection effort was supported by funding from the DARPA Strategic Technology Office (STO).  The W-band spectrum was selected as W-band phased array radar being developed under the DARPA-STO program holds promise for a full-spectrum size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) considerate solution.

The following content is available for download through the Millimeter-Wave Radar Data Information Center website:

  • The MFRF Dataset: Signal and Data Processing for Rotary Wing Aircraft Survivability and Lethality.  This paper (FOUO) describes the Multi-Function RF (MFRF) program’s sponsored data collections that were executed in April and May of 2012 utilizing the Honeywell W-Band radar testbed. The purpose for this data collection was to address significant gaps in the community’s understanding of scattering phenomenology in relevant air-to-obstacle and air-to-ground geometries and to provide datasets supporting the development of algorithms relevant to the design of advanced modes for the rotary wing application. With DARPA sponsorship, the Systems and Technology Research team is making the data more accessible to the DoD radar community via this website and the Defense Systems Information Analysis Center (DSIAC).  This paper is available for download with a U.S. Government issued Common Access Card (CAC) or by request from DSIAC.
  • The MFRF Dataset: A W-Band Database for Degraded Visual Environment Studies.  This presentation (Distribution A: Approved for public release) describes the rotary wing challenge of operating in Visually Degraded Environments (DVE). The presentation provides the data collection objectives, technical approach, Honeywell testbed and systems performance, and a data/database overview. 
  • The MFRF Dataset: A W-Band Database for Degraded Visual Environment Studies.  This is a Distribution C: U.S. Government Agencies and their contractors only briefing requiring a CAC to download or request to DSIAC to obtain.  This presentation describes the rotary wing challenge of operating in Visually Degraded Environments (DVE). The presentation provides the data collection objectives, technical approach, Honeywell testbed and systems performance, and a data/database overview. The Distribution A version of this presentation is available as open information and the Distribution C version is available for download with a U.S. Government issued Common Access Card (CAC) or by request from DSIAC.
  • Data Sets.  The MFRF Data Information Center website contains MMW data collected using a Honeywell 93 GHz two‐channel test‐bed installed on a Honeywell company helicopter.  MFRF data collection was designed to support a wide array of radar design activities relevant to the survivability and lethality of rotary wing A/C and addresses landing zone assessment; obstacle detection and avoidance; terrain following; dismount moving‐target indicator (DMTI) / ground moving-target indicator (GMTI); and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).  Data was collected during numerous flights over a three-week period for the below and can be downloaded with a U.S. Government issued Common Access Card (CAC) or by request from DSIAC.

Visitors to this site are free to browse the public sections. Access to the discussion forums and requests for information require user registration. Holders of a U.S. Government Common Access Card (CAC) can download data files directly. All other users must register and request the data via the Defense Systems Information Analysis Center (DSIAC) at www.dsiac.org.


DARPA Multifunction RF (MFRF) Program

DARPA Strategic Technology Office (STO)