Ground Surveillance Radar (GSR)
Ground surveillance radars are not organic to military police units. However, MP elements operating in
the forward areas may be closely located with units employing these radars. If you have some
familiarity with what they are, they may enhance your security.
GSR equipment provides a near all-weather, 24-hour, battlefield surveillance capability. A radar
system is a means of detecting and locating targets. The radar transmitter generates a high-power
pulse of radio frequency (RF) energy. When the energy strikes an object, it reflects back to the radar.
The radar set then displays it as either a sound or visual display or both. Because RF energy travels in
a straight line and at a constant rate of speed, targets can be located both in range and azimuth. The
time interval between the transmission and reception of the signal establishes the range.
Radar can penetrate light camouflage, smoke, haze, rain, snow, darkness and light foliage. It is unable
to penetrate dense undergrowth, trees, and heavy foliage. Heavy rain and snow will also limit its
effectiveness. GSR is generally ineffective against aerial targets. Some aerial targets can be detected
if they are flying low enough that a solid background, such as terrain and trees, is provided. GSR is
also vulnerable to jamming and various deception techniques. It is an active device and is, therefore,
detectable by the enemy. It is also limited to line of sight.
Radar equipment provides an excellent means of obtaining information. It is really effective, however,
when used to complement other surveillance means. Employment of GSR is closely coordinated with
remote sensors, observation posts, and NOD to enhance its effectiveness. Its major advantage is its
near all-weather target detection capability.
No one RSTA device can fill all the needs of the battlefield. Several types must be used to complement
each other. An RSTA mix might include PEWS for out of sight areas and dead space and night vision
devices for close ranges. These mixtures can be used to:
Locate friendly and enemy units and their movements.
Detect the use of RSTA devices by the enemy.
A mix of devices is best because:
Conditions may not allow the use of one specific device.
Several devices permit overlapping sectors and better coverage.
The capabilities of one device can compensate for the limitations of another.