Marshall Greenspan spent decades building radar systems for military aircraft. He will be honored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers later this month. Image courtesy of ThinkStock.

Engineer Honored for Pioneering Air-to-Surface Radar

June 17, 2015
Marshall Greenspan, a former Northrop Grumman engineer, showed the feasibility of space-time adaptive processing in modern moving-target radars.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers honored Marshall Greenspan, a retired Northrop Grumman engineer, for significantly improving the accuracy of airborne targeting radars. For nearly five decades of engineering work, he received the Dennis J. Picard Medal for Radio Technologies and Applications.

Greenspan is most renowned for demonstrating the feasibility of space-time adaptive processing in modern moving-target radars. He developed methods for adapting the radar’s temporal and spatial properties to the surrounding RF environment. The result was that radars experienced significantly less interference from ambient radio waves.

Greenspan devoted his entire career to military radars. Over forty years ago, he began developing radar that would provide targeting, navigation, and terrain avoidance for low-flying aircraft. More than a decade later, he upgraded that system to generate high-resolution images of the ground illuminated by the radar beam. The system was also capable of pointing out the location of moving ground targets.

Later included in the Radar Guided Weapons Systems, the technology was adapted for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s Pave Movar program, which mounted side-looking radars in a high speed Air Force planes. The system was used to track armored vehicles at long range while simultaneously guiding missiles to their intended targets.

In subsequent years, Greenspan worked to improve the radar's accuracy and helped to incorporate space-time adaptive processing into the design. The technology eventually became part of the Joint STARS system, which was first deployed with the United States military in Operation Desert Storm. The radar kept soldiers on the ground informed about enemy positions. Joint STARS is still in use today.

Greenspan graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering. He would earn a Ph.D. in the same field from the University of Connecticut in 1969. He has received the George J. Mead Medal for Engineering Achievement, IEEE’s Warren D. White Award for Excellence in Radar Engineering, and Northrop Grumman’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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