Polar / Ice Operations

Sea-Hawk has demonstrated superior capability to find Ice pieces like Growlers in Arctic waters.

Mangler bilde


The Sea-Hawk radar can detect these most dangerous bits of ice at much longer distance and in greater detail than any other radar. Sea-Hawk supplies you with an early warning and a more detailed view.

Mangler bilde

Northern Baffin Bay, Summer of 2012.


Like an aerial photo
Sea-Hawk can detect the surface within the radar horizon, displaying it similarly to an unusually detailed aerial photo. We bring radar detection to a level you could only dream about until recently. The constant darkness in the Arctic call for superior systems to help you operate up here. A polarimetric radar could provide you with most valuable details for a safe passage.

There are many different bits of ice. The echo from ice bergs, bergy bits and growlers are highly complex for any radar to detect. This is where polarization is very important. Bergy bits can measure two square meters on the surface and much more vertically. A polarimetric antenna has a much higher probability-of-detection rate than a standard navigational radar.

Detection of growlers
Obviously, the ice reflects the radar signal differently, depending on size and shape of the ice above water. If we add windy weather to the scenario, with sea-state 4 or higher, surface detection becomes even more important. Growlers can be extremely dangerous and difficult to detect. However, they generate fluctuations in the surface and thereby background clutter, which is significantly greater than the return signal from a bergy bit. In reality, you can detect the growlers much more reliably with a polarimetric radar than with a conventional navigation radar.

Multi polarized
It has been verified that a polarimetric Sea-Hawk radar is able to detect ice in the surface at a much longer distance than a standard navigation radar. The reason for our polarimetric radar’s superior detection ability is the combined utilization of different polarizations (horizontal, vertical and circular), while standard navigation radars only utilize horizontal polarization. Furthermore, we are able to process the background clutter from the antenna, and the turbulence and fluctuations naturally produced by the sea. A two square meter growler in the sea is big enough to be significantly visible on a Sea-Hawk radar display.

In calm weather a vertical polarized antenna is superior for surface detection. This is because the echoes are significantly stronger in the vertical plane than in the horizontal plane utilized in ordinary X-band radars. A “combo” polarimetric radar is therefore favorable for ice detection in all weather conditions. A combination of circular and vertical polarization is the preferred choice while sailing in ice, as the ice doesn’t move vertically.

Ice bergs in drifting ice
Ice bergs hidden in drifting ice is a similar situation to the growler. It is more the shadow behind the ice berg than the ice berg itself that will be significant and reveal the ice berg on the radar screen, and thereby lead to early detection. You will know what you are looking at and revise your operation accordingly. The shadow also gives important information about the size of the ice berg.

Arctic fog
Last but not least – a major problem up north is the strong arctic fog. The arctic fog is extremely tough for ordinary radars. It is the “micro ice” in the fog which reflects so strongly that a standard marine radar gets detection problems. A good polarimetric radar system can handle the arctic fog elegantly and you will be able to detect and navigate through the fog, and detect further out. When this arctic fog appears, a Sea-Hawk radar will add even more to your advantage.