Radar and Measurement Technology

MkVe Instrumentation Radar
MkVe Instrumentation Radar

The MkVe is the enhanced version of the highly capable and reliable MkV instrumentation radar. The MkV represents the fifth generation of instrumentation radars (beginning with the MkI in 1979). Since then, SPC has delivered over 55 instrumentation radar systems to its customers.

The MkV design has proven to be robust, remarkably failure-free, and highly maintainable. With the MkVe, SPC offers its customers enhanced capability while retaining full compatibility with existing MkV systems.

Reliability of the MkV radar product line has led SPC to increase the standard system warranty from a one-year to an industry-leading three-year period for the MkVe. Learn more about the MkVe by clicking below:

MkVe System Description
The MkVe radar is a multifrequency, ultra-wideband, coherent, step-chirp measurement system that uses Doppler processing to provide synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and inverse SAR (ISAR) images. It is a sophisticated measurement instrument used to support production and operational testing in either ground-based or airborne configurations. It has been used in a number of important production and real-time applications:

  • Northrop-Grumman Production Point Imaging RCS System (PPIRCS)
  • USAF Diagnostic Imaging Radar (DIR)
  • US Navy Radar
  • Australian Generic Threat Simulator (GTS) and Radar Threat Emulator (RTE)

The MkVe operates over a 0.1 to 18-GHz frequency range and is expandable up to 100 GHz. The MkVe control software is a Windows-based graphical user interface. The system is small, lightweight, mobile, and easily reconfigurable. The MkVe is a low-power, modular system incorporating commercial off-the-shelf equipment. The self-calibrating, built-in diagnostics provide instant confirmation of operational status.

What Does the "e" in MkVe Stand for?
The "e" in MkVe stands for "enhanced." The MkVe enhancement represents a major modification to the MkV digital subsystem. The enhancement centers around the MkV DSP and vastly improves many aspects of an already very successful MkV product line. In short, the MkVe enhancement improves:

  • Processing speed
  • Data throughput
  • Memory size
  • Software/firmware flexibility

The capability enhancements that result from these improvements are far-reaching and are described in further detail below.


The MkVe architecture satisfies nearly every conceivable instrumentation radar application within the limits of available component hardware. Its design allows for unlimited flexibility within a table memory of one million elements. This provides pulse-to-pulse variation of frequency, PRI, pulse width, attenuation, phase, range delay, and RF port selection. With its inherent flexibility, the MkVe meets an exceedingly wide range of application needs, including:

  • Traditional instrumentation radar applications
  • Airborne Generic Threat Simulation (GTS)
  • High-speed analog-to-digital data recording
  • ECM, ECCM, and other applications involving arbitrary waveform generation
In support of longevity, the new MkVe digital processor incorporates the latest in integrated FPGA and G4 processing hardware, making use of an architecture widely adopted in commercial and military digital data processing systems. Because of the widespread use of this digital backbone, we anticipate availability and vendor support well into the next decade.

Specifications & Key Benefits
  • 100:1 processing speed improvement resulting in faster real-time data processing and image display
  • 10:1 I/O speed enhancement in support of accelerated data transfers to auxiliary equipment
  • 10 dB more background subtraction through enhanced, real-time compensation
  • IF bandwidth increased from 500 MHz to 700 MHz
  • Video bandwidth increased from 250 MHz to 350 MHz
  • The ability to modulate an RF carrier within a pulse
  • Real-time capture and 16-bit digitization of analog data at rates up to 100 MB/sec
  • 16 bit digital resolution -- full utilization of available RF/IF dynamic range with overhead to support future enhancements
  • Expanded DSP memory supporting improved ability to deal with ambiguous clutter at higher PRFs
  • Enhanced longevity and reliability via replacing several legacy boards/components with a modern COTS DSP board running SPC firmware
Control Software

The MkVe control software provides a standard Windows-type graphical user interface. It is designed to provide a small set of configuration screens to setup and control all aspects of the radar system. Repetitive radar operations can be conducted from two or three screens (all of which are a single level below the main display screen). Stored radar setups include all information on these configuration screens, so that operations that are simply repetitive measurements need little if any additional configuration.

A software demo/tutorial is available. To view it, download the zip file [1.7MB], extract it to a hard drive directory, and follow the directions in the included readme file.

Access More Information on MkVe
To access more details (brochures, technical specifications, etc.) fill out the form below. After submitting the form, you will be directed to our list of downloads. (This form is for internal SPC business purposes only. No information will be provided to third parties.)