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TARGET TRACKING DEVICES

Target Tracking Devices

Author(s)                 Sheila Brownlee
Publisher Videotel
Date 2006
Pages 40
Format pdf
Size 3.5 Mb

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   New International Maritime Organization (IMO) performance standards come into force for radar equipment on new ships constructed after 1 July 2008. Under these standards, all radar equipment must be capable of displaying Automatic Identification System (AIS) information, and the term ARPA (Automatic Radar Plotting Aid) will be replaced with 'target tracking device'. There is a wide range of target tracking devices now available on the market, and personnel will need to be given equipment-specific familiarisation training when boarding. With basic radar, mariners had to track the movement of other ships by manually plotting their positions over time. They had to calculate the course, speed and aspect of other vessels by constructing vector triangles. This approach was slow and laborious, and computer technology has speeded up the process. Maritime radar enables the ship to pinpoint other vessels and find its own position in relation to landmarks. Beamed pulses of radio waves are sent out, and the returning echoes amplified, processed and displayed, allowing the operator to 'see' vessels which may not be visible to the naked eye, either because of fog or mist, or because they are unlit at night. However, some targets do not return a strong enough echo to be displayed, and some are obscured by unwanted 'clutter' from waves and rain...

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