Magazine Article | August 2, 2013

Reducing Size And Power In Phased-Array Radar Systems

Source: Custom MMIC Design Services (CMDS) , Inc.

By Charles Trantanella, Ph.D., VP of engineering, Custom MMIC

The combination of technology, system, and circuit analysis is driving the development of new MMIC technologies to address the SWaP-C concerns of phased-array systems.

Phased-array radar systems are important instruments in national electronic defense strategies. From the large, ship-based systems that scan for distantly launched missiles, to the more compact arrays installed on fighter aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), electronic phasedarray radars come in many sizes and forms, providing reliable signal detection and identification.

These modern systems offer many advantages over earlier radar systems that relied on the physical movement of an antenna to steer a radar beam in search of a target. While the physical movement method is certainly proven and reliable, having been used in military platforms and commercial aviation for more than 70 years, it is limited in scan rate by the mechanical motion of the antenna.