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Advanced MMICs Aid in Reducing Size and Power in Phased Array Radar Systems

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Custom MMIC

Chelmsford, MA - March 19, 2019 - Custom MMIC, (www.CustomMMIC.com), a leading designer and manufacturer of high performance monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs), has posted a new blog entry entitled, "Advanced MMICs Aid in Reducing Size and Power in Phased Array Radar Systems."

Advanced MMICs Aid in Reducing Size and Power in Phased Array Radar Systems

Advanced MMICs Aid in Reducing Size and Power in Phased Array Radar Systems - RF CafePhased-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 phased-array 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. This earlier method is certainly proven and reliable, having been used in military platforms and commercial aviation for over 70 years, but it is limited in scan rate by the mechanical motion of the antenna. In contrast, a phased-array radar system uses many equally spaced antenna elements with phase shifters, with each element contributing a small amount of electromagnetic (EM) radiation to form a much larger beam. As the phase of each antenna element is shifted and aligned, the direction of the radar beam changes and, as the amplitude of each element is varied, the pattern of the far-field response is shaped into the desired response. Thus, the overall radar antenna beam can be steered without need of a mechanically rotated antenna. Beam forming, which can be now performed by means of analog or digital control, can take place at extremely high speeds, limited only by the switching speed of electronic components.

Historically, phased-array radar systems have been large in both cost and weight. With the explosive growth of UAVs and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) as key elements of the defense arsenal, the need for lighter phased-array radar systems in these weight-sensitive systems will continue to grow. In addition, the increased use of such radars for non-military applications, such as tornado detection by the US National Weather Service (Springfield, MO), is helping drive the demand for lower-cost systems. Fortunately, these growing demands placed on phased-array radar systems can be met with the help of modern RF/microwave integrated-circuit (IC) and monolithic-microwave-integrated-circuit (MMIC) technologies.

Phased-Array Benefits and Drawbacks

PAVE PAWS phased array radar - RF CafeThe benefits of phased-array radar systems far outweigh their limitations, thus accounting for their growing use in many military electronic systems and platforms. Since beam steering in phased arrays can be performed at millisecond and faster speeds, the signal can jump from one target to the next very quickly, while frequency agility can be used to search quickly across a sector for targets. The coverage of a phased-array antenna beam is typically limited to a 120-deg. sector in azimuth and elevation. While this response is a known limitation of phased arrays, mechanically scanned radar systems also have limitations in the physical area available for the motion of the antenna.

Please continue reading on the Custom MMIC website ...

 

About Custom MMIC

Custom MMIC is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of innovative high-performance RF and Microwave MMIC devices. Our core values are built on the foundation of continuous improvement that results in engineering and manufacturing excellence. We pride ourselves on our ability to respond quickly to the constantly changing needs of our customers and the design challenges they face every day. To enhance our value-add to our customers, Custom MMIC has developed strategic manufacturing alliances with trusted foundries around the world that specialize in GaAs, GaN, SiC, InP, and InGaP HBT. To learn more about Custom MMIC and our unique design and manufacturing capabilities, visit www.CustomMMIC.com.

 

Contact

Custom MMIC
John Greichen
300 Apollo Drive
Chelmsford, MA  01824  USA
Phone:  978-467-4290
Website:  www.custommmic.com
E-Mail:  jgreichen@custommmic.com

 

 

Posted June 12, 2019

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