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11 November 2015

MACOM receives first production order for SPAR tiles in Multifunction Phased Array Radar

M/A-COM Technology Solutions Inc of Lowell, MA, USA (which makes semiconductors, components and subassemblies for analog RF, microwave, millimeter-wave and photonic applications) says that, following the field trial of the Multifunction Phased Array Radar (MPAR) prototype system, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory has placed an order for Scalable Planar ARray (SPAR) Tiles for use in the first full-scale MPAR system.

SPAR Tiles are RF assemblies containing antenna elements, gallium arsenide (GaAs) and gallium nitrride (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. MACOM says that, by leveraging its commercial manufacturing expertise, SPAR Tiles will help to 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," says Dr Doug Carlson, vice president, Strategy, at MACOM. "SPAR Tiles enable new levels of affordability and flexibility across a broad range of civil and defense applications," he adds. "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."

Tags: M/A-COM

Visit: www.macom.com/activeantennas

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