Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Operations Research


Department of Operational Sciences

First Advisor

Bruce A. Cox, PhD


Narcotics smuggling across the Caribbean Sea is a growing concern for the United States Coast Guard. One vector for this illicit trafficking is via small aircraft. This thesis proposes a multi-static radar architecture using the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation as a transmission source to detect these aircraft as they transit a detection fence. The system developed in this thesis relies on the forward-scatter phenomenon in which a radar shadow is cast by a target as it crosses in front of a transmitter, creating a measurable difference in the signal amplitude at the receiver. This thesis first develops a mathematical model parametrizing such a multi-static radar system. This model is then used to build a novel simulation, and output from the simulation is used as input in a vast set covering problem whose goal is both to determine the smallest number of sensors along with their locations in order to detect 100 of transiting aircraft, and to determine the near optimal location of a fixed number of sensors. The research proves the problem can be modeled, albeit at great computational expense. It further demonstrates that near optimal solutions can be generated with almost no computational expense using the geometric heuristic.

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