Rather than generate its own signals, passive radar exploits signals from many other sources, including civilian radio and television transmissions. Passive radar offers many benefits, including the ability to detect small flying objects with low-cost sensors in radar-shadow areas such as mountainous regions, which cannot be cost-effectively covered by active radars. Because it emits no signals, passive radar places no demands on already squeezed frequency bands and requires no permissions from authorities. In the military arena, the passive nature of the system makes it virtually undetectable by electronic means.
Airbus DS is focusing initially on civil and military air traffic control requirements and has demonstrated the ability to generate an accurate air picture at ranges of up to 200km in a typical European environment. It has also networked two receivers to prove the system’s capabilities in areas with restricted transmitter infrastructure.