Millimeter Wave FMCW radar for Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection

► Promo video of ELVA-1 FOD radar

See Report on field trial experiment of FOD Radar (March 2020)

See more: ELVA-1 FOD radar presentation (Please send us a request).

Foreign Object Debris (FOD) DetectionThe history of aviation knows many cases in which debris objects on the runway caused sufficient damage to the aircraft during take-off or landing. Due to the relatively small size of FOD debris, a high-resolution radar is required to find and locate such objects. 

ELVA-1 FOD radar operates at 76 GHz (3.9 mm wavelength) in frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) mode. FMCW radar determines the distance to the target (FOD object) by detecting the frequency difference between the received and emitted radar signals. 

The advantage of ELVA-1 FMCW radar is very low transpired power which doesn’t harm airport personnel or people inside aircraft when getting into the beam. Other pros of ELVA-1 radar are market-winning range distance, motorized radar positioner with 180-degree search area, and relatively small size of the radar.

FOD Radar Features 

FOD ELVA-1 FOD 76 GHz radar is intended for 24/7/365 all-weather search for debris at airport runway with the following features:

  • Cyclical detection of the location of foreign objects in the zone of operation by ½ of runway width along its length, 
  • Ability to detect debris which is equivalent to FOD reference sample as metal cylinder sized 3.1 cm length and 3.8 cm in diameter, at 1000 m distance. 
1x FOD radar for 2000 m runway

ELVA-1 FOD radar is a long-range device with a 1000 m radius of operation. On the market, this range is one of the longest, allowing to use of 1 to 3 FOD radars for the runway.

1x FOD radar for runway at regional airports with a runway of at least 1,829 m in length is usually adequate for aircraft weights below approximately 90 tons as Airbus 319, Airbus 320-100 or Boeing 737-800.

2x FOD radars for 4000 m runway 2x or 3x FOD radars for runway at any international airport. The world’s most busy airports like Frankfurt or Singapore have runways of 4000 m in length to land Boeing 747 or Airbus 380. Thus, 2x FOD radars will be required for each runway.

The world’s longest runways are the ones at Qamdo Bamda Airport in China (5,500 m) and Zhukovsky Airport, Moscow (5,400 m). In such cases, 3x FOD radars will be required, similarly. 

FOD Radar Schematics 

FOD Radar SchematicsFOD radar provides raw binary data, so it has to be connected via an Ethernet network to an airport control/monitoring system for data processing and visualization. The structure of each FOD radar (also named as mm-sensor) consists of FMCW radar and Positioner (rotation device).

Interface Converter consists of Ethernet switch and connects:

  • Ethernet channel to FMCW radar by UDP protocol,
  • RS-485 to control unit of Positioner device. 

FOD Radar Delivery Kit includes 

  1. 2x 76 GHz FMCW radar modules (Tx и Rx) in IP-67 cases with sealed cable  for DC power and Ethernet
  2. 2x antennas with radomes
  3. 1x Positioner (rotation device) with electric motors and control electronics
  4. Detailed description of radar raw data specification, intended for external computerized control system. 
  5. Radar Operation  Manual in PDF.

Additional software for radar output data conversion can be developed by the ELVA-1 team according to customer requirements.


Radar Transceiver

 Detection Range in radius

 50 to 1000 m (up to 1200 m)

 Distance Sensor resolution

 0.3 m

 Min target RCS

 -14.4 dBsm 1)

 Operating frequency       

 76.5 GHz

 Operation mode


                       1) RCS of a vertically standing cylinder with a height of 3.1 cm and a diameter of 3.8 cm

Radar Positioner 

 Max. pan rotation

 200 degrees

 Max. tilt rotation

 ±5 degrees

 Angle resolution Azimuth / Elevation

 0.1 / 0.1 degrees


 ± 0.1 degrees

 Speed ranges, max

 Pan: 24 deg/s, Tilt: 12 deg/s

 Allowable antenna wind load

 150 km/h or 0.3 kN

 Software provides complete scan of runway

 2 times 160 deg azimuth scan with 0.4 deg elevation shift within 3 min

Radar Interface





 Transfer data

 Position of radar + FFT, 4096 points@16 bits 
 or raw digital data 8192 points @14bits

 Communication connector


Power supply and environmental conditions

 Case protection


 Power supply voltage

 54 V DC, optionally 110/220V AC

 Power consumption

 500 W max

 Ambient temperature

 -30 to +50 °C

 Atmospheric pressure

 84.0 to 106.7 kPa (630 to 800 Torr)

 Relative humidity at 35°С and lower, no more than

 95 %

Scan Diagram for FOD Radar

Radar scans runway within 180-degree from its point automatically adjusting beam elevation angle to keep it over runway surface. Radar realizes loop-like scan by ½ of runway width along its length.

Radar scans runway within 180-degree from its point
FOD radar automatically adjusts beam elevation angle to keep it over runway surface