News Article

Macom Gets First Order For SPAR Radar Tiles

RF circuit assemblies could propel Multifunction Phased Array Radar  (MPAR) into the mainstream

Following a successful field trial of a Multifunction Phased Array Radar (MPAR) prototype system, Macom has received an order for Scalable Planar ARray (SPAR) Tiles from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory for use in the first full-scale MPAR system.

SPAR Tiles are RF assemblies containing antenna elements, GaAs and GaN semiconductors, transmit and receive modules and RF and power distribution networks. When combined with additional signal generation and receive and control electronics, the composite assembly forms the building block for the MPAR planar active electronically scanned antenna (AESA) for the radar system.

SPAR Tiles enable the transition from cumbersome traditional brick architectures to a more efficient planar approach. By leveraging Macom's commercial manufacturing expertise, Macom believes that SPAR Tiles will help drive cost efficiencies that are required to propel MPAR to mainstream adoption and deployment in the latter part of this decade.

The MPAR radar system enables enhanced temporal and spatial precision for weather surveillance and air traffic control applications. It is anticipated that the government proof-of-concept system will demonstrate a unique radar capability that simultaneously improves both aircraft and weather surveillance.

The data gathered by the MPAR radar can be used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to more accurately forecast severe storm activity, providing the early warning needed to save lives. The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) current air traffic control network, built more than three decades ago, is approaching obsolescence. 

It is believed that replacing these systems with MPAR would provide improved awareness of air traffic patterns, bringing dramatic efficiency improvements to FAA air traffic operations.

"The implementation of Macom's SPAR Tiles as a critical element of a full-scale demonstration of MPAR represents a major milestone in the validation of this new approach for manufacturing AESAs," said Doug Carlson, VP, strategy, Macom. "SPAR Tiles enable new levels of affordability and flexibility across a broad range of civil and defence applications. Our ability to fulfill large orders of SPAR Tiles demonstrates the scalability of our manufacturing approach to achieve volume production of this highly integrated and complex RF product."

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