To meet evolving operational requirements for the surveillance of Singapore’s coastal waters, DSTA has to constantly improve the performance of the multi-sensor tracker, which is a key component of the coastal surveillance system. The DSTA team integrated various systems across multiple domains, including command and control, communications systems, networks and various sensors.

The capability to detect small vessels is critical to a nation’s security. Small vessels can potentially be used to carry illegal immigrants or as platforms to conduct sea robberies. With their relatively small size, they can easily avoid detection by the coastal surveillance system.

The key challenge was to capture the ranges and azimuths of these small vessels and compare them with the recorded stream of radar plots and tracks in the multi-sensor tracker.


The team adopted the use of laser range-finder sensors in order to monitor and record the ranges and azimuths of the small vessels. An analysis of the collected data revealed that the system parameter in the multi-sensor tracker could be optimised to improve the tracking of small vessels in today’s harbour environment.

Another challenge the team faced was to ensure that the data collection and analysis, as well as parameter setting and testing would not affect the daily operations of the existing coastal surveillance system. The team developed a temporary test bed by adapting a system with similar capabilities. This made for a seamless way of testing system enhancements and integration thoroughly before they were applied to the actual operational system. Recordings of the system’s graphical display after the performance tuning showed that more small vessels were detected, confirming the effectiveness of the system enhancements. Detection capabilities of Singapore’s coastal surveillance system have thus been strengthened.