'Modern' radar systems have come in for much criticism in recent years, particularly in the aftermath of the Falklands campaign. There have also been notable failures in commercial designs, including the well-publicised 'Nimrod' project which was abandoned due to persistent inability to meet signal processing requirements. There is clearly a need for improvement in radar signal processing techniques as many designs rely on technology dating from the late 1970's, much of which is obsolete by today’s standards. The Durham Radar Automatic Track Extraction System (RATES) is a practical implementation of current microprocessor technology, applied to plot extraction of surveillance radar data. In addition to suggestions for the design of such a system, results are quoted for the predicted performance when compared with a similar product using 1970's design methodology. Suggestions are given for the use of other VLSI techniques in plot extraction, including logic arrays and digital signal processors. In conclusion, there is an illustrated discussion concerning the use of systolic arrays in RATES and a prediction that this will represent the optimum architecture for future high-speed radar signal processors.