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Surveillance Techniques for the Vessel Traffic Service Systems of the U. S. Coast Guard

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Master's thesis

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The U.S. Coast Guard operates several Vessel Traffic Services VTS in major U.S. shipping ports. These systems were designed and implemented twenty years ago. They were designed for a single mission, port safety. The surveillance and display systems are well beyond the planned service life and need to be replaced. This thesis investigates and summarizes up-to-date methods of providing surveillance services to a VTS. The author includes a history of VTS, an analysis of the assigned missions, and a review of the C2 factors involved. A functional model of a VTS is developed and used to evaluate the best mix of technologies for VTS systems. The author concludes that a mixture of shore-based radar surveillance and satellite-based surveillance can provide the detection and identification information necessary to operate a multi-mission VTS. In order to take advantage of inexpensive narrow band data links, such as voice grade telephone circuits, radar information must be processed through a radar scan convertor. Use of this technology also improves automated target detection, tracking, and display capabilities of the existing radar and display systems. A second generation VTS should have a modular design, centered around a standardized Vessel Traffic Center VTC C2 system. This will reduce the cost of operating a VTS by reducing the manpower needs of a VTC, improving the performance of the VTS system during multi-mission tasking, allowing the use of different sensor types, and creating a way of integrating VTS information into the main stream of Coast Guard operations.

Subject Categories:

  • Active and Passive Radar Detection and Equipment
  • Command, Control and Communications Systems

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