Passive electronically scanned array

Last updated
The Mikoyan MiG-31 combat aircraft with nose fairing removed, showing its Zaslon passive electronically scanned array radar antenna. DN-ST-92-02246.JPEG
The Mikoyan MiG-31 combat aircraft with nose fairing removed, showing its Zaslon passive electronically scanned array radar antenna.
Animation showing how a passive electronically scanned array works. It consists of an array of antenna elements (A) powered by a single transmitter (TX). The feed current for each antenna passes through a phase shifter (ph) controlled by a computer (C). The moving red lines show the wavefronts of the radio waves emitted by each element. The individual wavefronts are spherical, but they combine (superpose) in front of the antenna to create a plane wave, a beam of radio waves travelling in a specific direction. The phase shifters delay the radio waves progressively going up the line so each antenna emits its wavefront later than the one below it. This causes the resulting plane wave to be directed at an angle to the antenna. The computer can alter the phase shifters to steer the beam to a new direction, very quickly. The velocity of the radio waves is shown slowed down enormously. Phased array animation with arrow 10frames 371x400px 100ms.gif
Animation showing how a passive electronically scanned array works. It consists of an array of antenna elements (A) powered by a single transmitter (TX). The feed current for each antenna passes through a phase shifter (φ) controlled by a computer (C). The moving red lines show the wavefronts of the radio waves emitted by each element. The individual wavefronts are spherical, but they combine (superpose) in front of the antenna to create a plane wave, a beam of radio waves travelling in a specific direction. The phase shifters delay the radio waves progressively going up the line so each antenna emits its wavefront later than the one below it. This causes the resulting plane wave to be directed at an angle to the antenna. The computer can alter the phase shifters to steer the beam to a new direction, very quickly. The velocity of the radio waves is shown slowed down enormously.

A passive electronically scanned array (PESA), also known as passive phased array, is an antenna in which the beam of radio waves can be electronically steered to point in different directions (that is, a phased array antenna), in which all the antenna elements are connected to a single transmitter (such as a magnetron, a klystron or a travelling wave tube) and/or receiver. The largest use of phased arrays is in radars. Most phased array radars in the world are PESA. The civilian microwave landing system uses PESA transmit-only arrays.

A PESA contrasts with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) antenna, which has a separate transmitter and/or receiver unit for each antenna element, all controlled by a computer; AESA is a more advanced, sophisticated versatile second-generation version of the original PESA phased array technology.

Radar systems generally work by connecting an antenna to a powerful radio transmitter to emit a short pulse of signal. The transmitter is then disconnected and the antenna is connected to a sensitive receiver which amplifies any echos from target objects. By measuring the time it takes for the signal to return, the radar receiver can determine the distance to the object. The receiver then sends the resulting output to a display of some sort. The transmitter elements were typically klystron tubes or magnetrons, which are suitable for amplifying or generating a narrow range of frequencies to high power levels. To scan a portion of the sky, the radar antenna must be physically moved to point in different directions.

In 1959, DARPA developed an experimental phased array radar called Electronically Steered Array Radar ESAR. The first module, a linear array, was completed in 1960. It formed the basis of the AN/FPS-85. [1]

Starting in the 1960s new solid-state devices capable of delaying the transmitter signal in a controlled way were introduced. That led to the first practical large-scale passive electronically scanned array, or simply phased array radar. PESAs took a signal from a single source, split it into hundreds of paths, selectively delayed some of them, and sent them to individual antennas. The radio signals from the separate antennas overlapped in space, and the interference patterns between the individual signals was controlled to reinforce the signal in certain directions, and mute it in all others. The delays could be easily controlled electronically, allowing the beam to be steered very quickly without moving the antenna. A PESA can scan a volume of space much quicker than a traditional mechanical system. Thanks to progress in electronics, PESAs added the ability to produce several active beams, allowing them to continue scanning the sky while at the same time focusing smaller beams on certain targets for tracking or guiding semi-active radar homing missiles. PESAs quickly became widespread on ships and large fixed emplacements in the 1960s, followed by airborne sensors as the electronics shrank.[ citation needed ]

List of PESA radars

Related Research Articles

Radar Object detection system using radio waves

Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. A radar system consists of a transmitter producing electromagnetic waves in the radio or microwaves domain, a transmitting antenna, a receiving antenna and a receiver and processor to determine properties of the object(s). Radio waves from the transmitter reflect off the object and return to the receiver, giving information about the object's location and speed.

Phased array

In antenna theory, a phased array usually means an electronically scanned array, a computer-controlled array of antennas which creates a beam of radio waves that can be electronically steered to point in different directions without moving the antennas.

Active electronically scanned array Type of phased array radar

An active electronically scanned array (AESA) is a type of phased array antenna, which is a computer-controlled array antenna in which the beam of radio waves can be electronically steered to point in different directions without moving the antenna. In the AESA, each antenna element is connected to a small solid-state transmit/receive module (TRM) under the control of a computer, which performs the functions of a transmitter and/or receiver for the antenna. This contrasts with a passive electronically scanned array (PESA), in which all the antenna elements are connected to a single transmitter and/or receiver through phase shifters under the control of the computer. AESA's main use is in radar, and these are known as active phased array radar (APAR).

A low-probability-of-intercept radar (LPIR) is a radar employing measures to avoid detection by passive radar detection equipment while it is searching for a target or engaged in target tracking. This characteristic is desirable in a radar because it allows finding and tracking an opponent without alerting them to the radar's presence. This also protects the radar installation from anti-radiation missiles (ARM).

Counter-battery radar

A counter-battery radar is a radar system that detects artillery projectiles fired by one or more guns, howitzers, mortars or rocket launchers and, from their trajectories, locates the position on the ground of the weapon that fired it. Such radars are a subclass of the wider class of target acquisition radars.

AN/APQ-181

The AN/APQ-181 is an all-weather, low probability of intercept (LPI) phased array radar system designed by Hughes Aircraft for the U.S. Air Force B-2A Spirit bomber aircraft. The system was developed in the mid-1980s and entered service in 1993. The APQ-181 provides a number of precision targeting modes, and also supports terrain-following radar and terrain avoidance. The radar operates in the Ku band. The original design uses a TWT-based transmitter with a 2-dimensional passive electronically scanned array (PESA) antenna.

RBE2

The RBE2 is a multirole radar developed during the 1990s for the French Dassault Rafale combat aircraft.

The AN/APG-76 radar is a pulse Doppler Ku band multi-mode radar developed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman.

RCA AN/FPS-16 Instrumentation Radar

The AN/FPS-16 is a highly accurate ground-based monopulse single object tracking radar (SOTR), used extensively by the NASA manned space program, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army. The accuracy of Radar Set AN/FPS-16 is such that the position data obtained from point-source targets has azimuth and elevation angular errors of less than 0.1 milliradian and range errors of less than 5 yards (5 m) with a signal-to-noise ratio of 20 decibels or greater.

Radar engineering details are technical details pertaining to the components of a radar and their ability to detect the return energy from moving scatterers — determining an object's position or obstruction in the environment. This includes field of view in terms of solid angle and maximum unambiguous range and velocity, as well as angular, range and velocity resolution. Radar sensors are classified by application, architecture, radar mode, platform, and propagation window.

Bars radar

The Bars (Leopard) is a family of Russian all-weather multimode airborne radars developed by the Tikhomirov Scientific Research Institute of Instrument Design for multi-role combat aircraft such as the Su-27 and the MiG-29.

Phase shift module microwave network module

A phase shift module is a microwave network module which provides a controllable phase shift of the RF signal. Phase shifters are used in phased arrays.

Frequency agility is the ability of a radar system to quickly shift its operating frequency to account for atmospheric effects, jamming, mutual interference with friendly sources, or to make it more difficult to locate the radar broadcaster through radio direction finding. The term can also be applied to other fields, including lasers or traditional radio transceivers using frequency-division multiplexing, but it remains most closely associated with the radar field and these other roles generally use the more generic term "frequency hopping".

Irbis-E

Irbis-E is a Russian multi-mode, hybrid passive electronically scanned array radar system developed by Tikhomirov NIIP for the Su-35 multi-purpose fighter aircraft. NIIP developed the Irbis-E radar from the Bars radar system used on Sukoi SU-30MK aircraft.

The AN/APY-10 is an American multifunction radar developed for the U.S. Navy's Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft. AN/APY-10 is the latest descendant of a radar family originally developed by Texas Instruments, and now Raytheon after it acquired the radar business of TI, for Lockheed P-3 Orion, the predecessor of P-8.

Antenna array

An antenna array is a set of multiple connected antennas which work together as a single antenna, to transmit or receive radio waves. The individual antennas are usually connected to a single receiver or transmitter by feedlines that feed the power to the elements in a specific phase relationship. The radio waves radiated by each individual antenna combine and superpose, adding together to enhance the power radiated in desired directions, and cancelling to reduce the power radiated in other directions. Similarly, when used for receiving, the separate radio frequency currents from the individual antennas combine in the receiver with the correct phase relationship to enhance signals received from the desired directions and cancel signals from undesired directions. More sophisticated array antennas may have multiple transmitter or receiver modules, each connected to a separate antenna element or group of elements.

AN/MPQ-4

The Radar Set AN/MPQ-4 was a US Army counter-battery radar primarily used to find the location of enemy mortars and larger artillery in a secondary role. Built by General Electric, it first entered service in 1958, replacing the earlier and much simpler AN/MPQ-10. The MPQ-4 could determine the location of an enemy mortar in as little as 20 seconds by observing a single round, whereas the MPQ-10 required several rounds to be launched and could take 4 to 5 minutes to take a "fix". The MPQ-4 remained one of the primary US counter-battery systems through the late 1970s until it was replaced by passive electronically scanned array radars like the AN/TPQ-36.

The AR-3D was a air traffic control and early warning radar developed by Plessey and first produced in 1975. It used a pencil beam and simple frequency scanning system known as "squint scan" to produce a low-cost 3D radar system that was also relatively mobile. About 23 were produced in total, the majority in mobile form. The scanning system was very simple and led to lower costs than competing systems.

References

  1. https://www.darpa.mil/about-us/timeline/phased-arrays
  2. "DRDO LRDE Radar Systems". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2009-07-04.