RCS and IR Signatures



Throughout the domain of sensors, the knowledge of the object signature (real or simulated) is primordial to understand the detection, reconnaissance and identification performances of those sensors. Although sensors in the radar domain (mostly active) and sensors in the optronics domain (mostly passive) rely on different working principles, the importance of the object signature within the chain of the sensor system is comparable.

In the radar domain, expertise is built up by performing experimental measurements on the radar cross section of small drones (to make them more visible for training purposes) and on the effectiveness of radar camouflage materials.

In the optronics domain, research is conducted in the thermal IR1 part of the spectrum within the frame of Navy applications.

The three research axes identified in the domain of IR signatures remain unchanged for the coming years given the high interest of these topics within the Navy research strategy.

Research projects

Satellite Automatic Identification System Phase B1 - E-SAIL

A consortium lead by LuxSpace (LU) has introduced a proposal "SAT-AIS Phase B1 - E-SAIL" in answer to the ESA call ITT AO/1-6656/10/NL/AD which was accepted in September 2011. OIP Sensor systems (BE) will perform the activities related to the electro-optical (EO) payload as subcontractor of LuxSpace and signed the contract in december 2011. RMA has been asked as a subcontractor by OIP. The topic of the global proposal is a feasibility study of a spaceborne AIS (Automatic Identification System) extended with non-cooperative ship detection capability. The contribution of OIP/RMA is to examine whether an EO imager can be used as a complementary system for non-cooperative vessel detection. RMA will simulate the detection performance of the processing algorithms to be applied on the EO images. The Patrimony of RMA will receive 42000 euro for a contribution of 8 manmonths, which will be performed by Maj v/h Vlw Marijke VANDEWAL and Lt Mathias BECQUAERT.

Expertise-activities OMRA

The laboratory OMRA of the CISS department is asked regularly to perform radar and IR signature measurements amongst others in the domain of camouflage materials. To support these activities the activity OMRA-EXP has been created. A first forecast of duration has been set to 5 years, then the relevance of this activity will be reevaluated.


DMD (Drifting Mines Detection) studies the new mothership/USV minehunting paradigm and its capabilities for detecting drifting mine threats at sea using time-integrated radar and behavioural analysis of infrared video data. RMA contribution is the capture and analysis of radar and video data from the sensor systems of the M-class frigate taking up the role of mothership simulator in this, and also the development and evaluation of drifting mine detection algorithms.


This project addresses the problem of ship force protection agains asymmetrical threats such as swimmers, drifting mines/IEDs and small craft, this in a port or coastal context. For this it studies the detection of behavioural anomalies in infrared and optical video streams of the ship’s environment.

FREMM - MPIR : Frégate Européenne Multi Missions - Réalisation d\'un Module de Prédiction Infrarouge

The aim of the FREMM project is to concieve, realise, validate for the PSAD (Performances Senseurs et Aides à la Décision) module, a software that covers the following functionalities. First, the project computation of the effects of the atmospheric and geographical environment on the infrared transmission. Second, the projected computation of the effects of the atmospheric and geogrphical environment on the target and background irradiance. Third, the computation of the output performance (detection, identification) of optronics sensors. Fouth, the computation of images of infrared scenes. The MPIR module is responsible for the synthesis of infrared images of the scene. RMA is reponsible for integrating the OSMOSIS Thermal Model developed at RMA in the MPIR module of the FREMM project. OSMOSIS is an open-source software developed in the context of the MRN 03 study and that compute the thermal model of ships


This project studies the useability of different sensors to detect small objects at the surface of the ocean. Applications are the detection of floating mines and wreck pieces in order to avoid collision, search and rescue of drowning pers. Optical, IR and radar sensors will be considered in order to be able to operate day and night and regardless of the weather conditions.


  1. Marijke Vandewal, Rainer Speck, and Helmut Sub. Efficient SAR Raw Data Generation Including Low Squint Angles and Platform Instabilities. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, 5(1):26-30, January 2008.
  2. Marijke Vandewal. Investigation of High Resolution SAR-Systems aboard UAV-Platforms using Simulated Raw Data. PhD thesis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, 2006.