AbstractIn the last decades, great interest has been directed toward low-power high-frequency (HF) surface-wave radars as long-range early warning tools in maritime-situational-awareness applications. These sensors, developed for ocean remote sensing, provide an additional source of information for ship detection and tracking, by virtue of their over-the-horizon coverage capability and continuous-time mode of operation. Unfortunately, they exhibit many shortcomings that need to be taken into account, such as poor range and azimuth resolution, high nonlinearity, and significant presence of clutter. In this paper, radar detection, multitarget tracking, and data fusion (DF) techniques are applied to experimental data collected during an HF-radar experiment, which took place between May and December 2009 on the Ligurian coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The system performance is defined in terms of time on target (ToT), false alarm rate (FAR), track fragmentation, and accuracy. A full statistical characterization is provided using one month of data. The effectiveness of the tracking and DF procedures is shown in comparison to the radar detection algorithm. In particular, the detector's FAR is reduced by one order of magnitude. Improvements, using the DF of the two radars, are also reported in terms of ToT as well as accuracy.