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Research Program 1 - Reconnaissance and Surveillance

Information superiority from modern electronics and intelligent algorithms

Aufklärung und Überwachung

The Reconnaissance and Surveillance research program being undertaken by the specialist Science and Technology competence sector at armasuisse is working on five capability-oriented areas of expertise within the overall sphere of ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance). To this end, new ways of acquiring information are being identified and the technical and scientific expertise needed to fill the armed forces capability gaps is being developed. This will be achieved with the aid of a multilateral collaborative network.



Areas of expertise


Progress in antenna and high-frequency technologies and in algorithmics will allow the development of new applications in future. The topics being researched are cognitive, multi-static and passive radar systems. Account also needs to be taken of disruptive effects such as topography-related echo signals and the backscatter pattern from flying objects. New approaches to detecting drones are being evaluated.


Compared with traditional systems, technological progress promises better detection of ground targets by using hyperspectral sensors, for example. Important information can be captured using imaging radar sensors (SAR) even in bad weather. Further developments in SAR technology on multi-channel systems hold out the promise of being able to record human activity on the ground in real time.


Because of the constant increase in the volume of data captured, intelligent pre-analysis close to the sensor is gaining in importance. In addition, the trend towards networking offers the prospect of carrying out surveillance tasks with less human input. The goal of this area of expertise is to identify and assess the trends and limits of intelligent and networked surveillance.

Leistungsgrenze moderner Sensorik
Improvements to detectors

Improvements to detectors and sensors are being evaluated as regards their performance limits. This affects multi-sensory systems, miniaturization and sensors which make use of new spectral bands, and new possibilities for wide-angle reconnaissance. New approaches to extending sensor operating distances or to employing them in built-up areas (e.g. 'through wall sensing') are also being explored.


The characteristics of targets and their backgrounds are recorded for radar, visual, hyperspectral, infrared-based and acoustic sensors. The main priorities are signature analysis and analysis of the human impact on evaluation. In addition, this area of expertise is surveying and assessing progress towards multi-spectral, mobile and adaptive camouflage.

Technology demonstrators


The FERAMO experimental field radar is used for close-range reconnaissance tasks (a few hundred meters). It can detect people, vehicle and small drones.


The experimental sensor permits complete all-round coverage, which is of particular interest for surveillance tasks. This allows simultaneous observation of sectors in a variety of different directions.

MIRANDA Radarsensor

The MIRANDA technology demonstrator allows images of the ground to be taken from the air even during bad weather when other sensors are unable to deliver any useable information. Quicklook pictures have been transmitted in real time up to a distance of 120km and high-resolution SAR images have produced resolutions of up to 15 cm.

passive radar

The main advantage for users of passive radar systems is that it is extremely difficult to determine the location of the receiver. However, the technology is complex and its performance limits are largely unknown. By employing a receiver infrastructure and using scientific analysis methods, expertise in evaluating passive radars is being developed within S+T and in cooperation with research partners.


Due to engine noise, helicopter crews are unlikely to hear gunshots aimed at their aircraft. It is therefore even more important in such cases for pilots to receive automatic warnings indicating the proximity of hazardous zones. In order to develop expertise in this area, a Cougar helicopter has been fitted with 14 special microphones for test purposes.


The desired reconnaissance result can often not be achieved with a single sensor. The multi-sensor platform makes it possible to exploit the potential of sensor data fusion.


This project examines demonstration camouflage kits which adapt vehicles to match their background (immediate surroundings). This type of adaptation is of interest in both the thermal infrared and visual electromagnetic spectrum.

Research Program Manager

Dr. Peter Wellig

Our "Reconnaissance and Surveillance" research program manager is delighted at your interest!


Science and Technology Research Management
and Operations Research
Feuerwerkerstrasse 39
CH-3602 Thun
+41 58 468 28 10

Research Program Manager

Dr. Peter Wellig


Science and Technology

Research Management
and Operations Research
Feuerwerkerstrasse 39
CH-3602 Thun