Karl Gerlach

Karl Gerlach
Associated organizations
US Navy
Fields of study
IEEE Dennis J. Picard Medal


Working for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Radar Division, Karl Gerlach has invented and developed electronic protection techniques over the last 30 years that are having and will continue to have a significant impact on improving the performance of radars against barrage and jamming. Dr. Gerlach developed the cascaded analog/digital sidelobe canceller and showed its potential as an effective adaptive antenna nulling technique against jamming. A successful experimental program was developed to demonstrate this technique, and a record level of cancellation was demonstrated. He also developed a phenomenological model for characterizing sea clutter that has impacted radar research. Based on this model, he developed additional signal processing methods to enhance target detection in the presence of sea clutter. In addition, his work has enhanced radar performance through invention and development of adaptive pulse compression methods that reduce range sidelobe masking of targets and fast, robust space-time adaptive processing (STAP) for airborne radar. Dr. Gerlach has also helped upgrade several signal processing efforts related to U.S. Navy legacy radars. He improved the SPS-49 sidelobe canceller by replacing it with a digital canceller. He also developed an effective pulse Doppler repair algorithm for the Aegis ballistic missile defense radar. He has contributed to signal processing upgrades for the U.S. Navy’s AN/SPQ-9B surface surveillance and tracking radar, the AN/SPN-43 air traffic control radar used on aircraft carriers, and the AN/SPY-3 multifunction radar for ships.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Gerlach has also been named the 2012 recipient of the IEEE Dennis J. Picard Medal “For contributions to radar signal processing, clutter modeling, and electronic protection.” He retired in 2009 as head of the Advanced Signal Processing Section of the U.S. Naval Research Academy’s Radar Division, Washington, DC.