Performance Assessment of a Radar-Based Foreign Object Debris Detection System
In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Technology Research and Development Team initiated a research program to conduct a performance assessment of the QinetiQ, Ltd. Tarsier Foreign Object Debris (FOD) detection radar system. The purpose of this assessment was to identify key operational characteristics and limitations of the system at an active air carrier airport, including the system’s ability to detect objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials at all locations on the runway surface. The system’s ability to detect FOD during both nighttime and daytime conditions, in periods of sun, rain, mist, fog, and in light and heavy snow was also assessed. In January 2005, the FAA developed plans for a comprehensive performance assessment of the technology at the Providence T. F. Green International Airport. Installation of the Tarsier system was completed in April 2007. Extensive data collection campaigns were conducted from June 2007 to March 2008. At the conclusion of the data collection process, the FAA had sufficient data to conclude the performance assessment. The QinetiQ Ltd. Tarsier FOD detection radar system was found to detect the necessary objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials on the runway surface and was able to perform satisfactorily in nighttime, daytime, sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow conditions, as required by FAA Advisory Circular 150/5220-24, “Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection Equipment.”
Author: Edwin E. Herricks, Elizabeth Woodworth, Sid Majumdar, and James Patterson, Jr.