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Monday, 4 June 1984
Page: 2439


Senator MacGIBBON(5.19) —Had the Minister been in the chamber last Thursday when I spoke on this matter on a notice of motion he would have realised that I explained the importance of a relatively short range radar in these circumstances. It is a little bit mischievous for one of his officers to try to obfuscate the issue by suggesting that anyone on this side talked about a 150 nautical mile radar horizon. We are talking about a low altitude search from about 1,500 to 2,000 feet so that we can go down without a great time or fuel penalty and investigate any targets we find. That means we need a low strength signal on our radar sets. We do not need a powerful radar.

We need a sophisticated signal processing unit which implies a computer on board with a highly developed software program so that we can analyse the returns because land radar has a different maritime application. With a maritime application, depending on the weather, we get variable background returns. If we have rough seas we get a lot of clutter coming back. The sophistication of the software program gives the picture and enables one to find small targets. By operating with a very cheap set like this Ericsson one discrimination is degraded. When we go to the business of the weather radar we have virtually no capability of signal processing to filter out the cluttered returns from an angry sea state to find in the water things such as bodies and small dinghies.