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Raytheon Demos Small X-band Radar

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Low-power SiGe-based radar guides more aircraft from extended ranges

Raytheon has demonstrated its Low-Power Radar's ability to provide precision approach guidance to landing aircraft from 15 nautical miles, which is five more than the current capability. The demo took place in Brooksville, Florida, June 26-28 to an audience of military officials representing the US Navy, Army and Air Force.

LPR is a small, one-meter square SiGe-based Active Electronically Scanned Array, or AESA, multi-mission x-band radar suited to precision approach landings, aviation surveillance, precision weather observations, and small drone detection and tracking.

"This radar is like a Swiss Army Knife; it has broad applications across a lot of missions," said Matt Gilligan, vice president of Raytheon's Navigation, Weather and Services mission area. "Its extended range expands options for managing multiple fast aircraft on approach."

LPR's origin as a weather radar gives it an advanced dual-polarisation capability that allows it to discern between heavy rain, hail, snow and sleet. It can also detect non-meteorological echoes from ground clutter, birds, and tornado debris. It does this by transmitting and receiving both horizontal and vertical polarisations, unlike most radars that only transmit and receive radio waves with a single polarisation.

Because it's an AESA radar, it offers higher-quality images than conventional radars. Phased-array radars are also cheaper to maintain and offer adaptive beam scanning, which allows the radar to track more targets and interweave between different radar applications.

With no moving parts, LPRs are said to be more reliable and easier to maintain, giving them longer lifetimes and lower life-cycle costs. The program is on track for initial production in 2019.


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