Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Multifunction Phased Array Radar for Air Traffic and Weather Surveillance

Aerospace & Electronic Systems; Antenna & Propagation; and Microwave Theory & Techniques Societies

6:00 PM, Tuesday, 8 November

Multifunction Phased Array Radar for Air Traffic and Weather Surveillance

Jeffrey S. Herd, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA

A multifunction phased array radar (MPAR) system has been proposed as the next-generation solution to provide both weather and primary aircraft surveillance—a functionality that no current radar can satisfy. Instead of using a rotating antenna, as current civilian radar systems do, an MPAR has no moving parts and electronically shapes and steers its radar beam. This unique beam agility permits increased vertical resolution and faster full-volume scan rates, thus enabling one radar unit to perform multiple weather and atmospheric surveillance tasks. One clear advantage of the MPAR system is a potential reduction in the total number of ground-based radars. In addition, MPAR surveillance capabilities will exceed those of current operational radars, for example, by providing more frequent weather volume scans and by providing vertical resolution and height estimates for primary aircraft targets.
Under FAA sponsorship, MIT Lincoln Laboratory and M/A-COM Technology Solutions have developed an active electronically scanning phased array antenna panel, which demonstrates the fundamental building block of an MPAR system. The phased array panels function together coherently to radiate and receive pulses of radar energy that can be used to detect, locate, and track both aircraft and weather targets. A preliminary assessment indicated that full system implementation could result in the deployment of approximately 350 radars. To effectively compete with current mechanically scanned solutions, the MPAR system must achieve an aggressive cost goal, while equaling or bettering current performance metrics. The MPAR panel helps achieve the ambitious cost targets by using highly integrated microwave components and commercial manufacturing practices. Furthermore, the electronically scanning MPAR array panels can accomplish diverse surveillance tasks much more quickly, and with more flexibility than can the mission-specific rotating antenna systems in use today.
The MIT Lincoln Laboratory program is addressing key technology challenges including low cost dual polarized active phased array panels, overlapped digital subarray architecture, and accurate performance and cost models for the radars. This presentation will describe the current status of these efforts, and describe future enhancements.
Jeffrey S. Herd PhotoJeffrey S. Herd received the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1982, 1983 and 1989, respectively. From 1983–1999, he was with the Antenna Technology Branch of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Hanscom AFB, MA. From 1992-1994, he was a visiting scientist with the Antenna Group of the Institute for High Frequency Techniques, German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR), Munich, Germany. In 1999, he joined MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA, where he is currently an Assistant Group Leader in the Advanced RF Sensing and Exploitation Group. MIT Lincoln Laboratory conducts research and development aimed at solutions to problems critical to national security. The Advanced RF Sensing and Exploitation Group is developing advanced RF technologies and adaptive signal processing techniques for next generation RF surveillance systems. Dr. Herd’s research interests include ultra-wideband arrays, RF pre-conditioning networks, multifunction T/R modules, digital sub-array architectures, and wideband digital receivers.
*This work was sponsored by the FAA under Air Force Contract FA8721-05-C-0002. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are not necessarily endorsed by the United States Government.
Meeting will be held at MIT Lincoln Laboratory A-Café, 244 Wood Street, Lexington, MA. For directions please see: http://www.ll.mit.edu/about/map.html
For more information, contact Aerospace & Electronic Systems chair, Eli Brookner eli_brookner@raytheon.com or Antennas & Propagation chair, Gregory Charvat at Gregory.charvat@ll.mit.edu