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IQE

13 October 2015

Raytheon's GaN-based 360° AESA Patriot radar moves toward production readiness

Using funding from Raytheon Company of Waltham, MA, USA, an upgrade to the combat-proven Patriot Air and Missile Defense System's radar that provides 360° of protection from threats such as drones, aircraft and cruise and ballistic missiles (attacking simultaneously from multiple directions) will soon be production ready, due to a recently completed series of engineering milestones, says Raytheon.

The milestones involve upgrading the Patriot radar main array with gallium nitride (GaN)-based active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology. Completion of those milestones keep Raytheon engineers (who are currently constructing a GaN-based AESA full-size main panel radar array) on track to having a full-scale main array demonstrator operational in early 2016.

"The Raytheon-developed GaN-based AESA radar builds on the more than $150m invested in GaN technology, and will be a simple upgrade for the more than 220 Patriot fire units fielded by the USA and the 12 other Patriot partner nations," says Ralph Acaba, VP of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business. "This upgrade is approved for export to all current Patriot partners and a number of future Patriot partner nations such as Poland," he adds. "It enables 360° of protection, while retaining Patriot's mobility and reducing operation and maintenance cost by as much as 50%."

The Raytheon-built GaN-based AESA Patriot uses three antenna arrays mounted on a mobile radar shelter to provide 360° of radar coverage. The main AESA array is a bolt-on replacement antenna for the existing gallium arsenide (GaAs)-based antenna. The GaN-based AESA array measures roughly 9' wide x 13' tall, and is oriented toward the primary threat. Patriot's new rear-panel arrays are a quarter the size of the main array and let the system look behind and to the sides of the main array, enabling Patriot to engage threats in all directions.
Earlier this year, Raytheon built a GaN-based AESA Patriot rear-panel array, integrated it with the current Patriot radar using the existing, recently modernized, back-end processing hardware and software, and tracked targets of opportunity to seamlessly create a 360° view.

The recently accomplished milestones include:

  • completing construction of the AESA main array structure; 
  • constructing the AESA arrays' radar shelter;
  • integrating receivers and a radar digital processor into the radar shelter; 
  • delivering the shelter to Raytheon's test facility in Pelham, NH;  
  • testing the radar's cooling sub-system.

Raytheon's GaN-based AESA Patriot radar will work with future open architecture as an Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System and retains backwards compatibility with the existing Patriot Engagement Control Station. It is also fully interoperable with NATO.

Raytheon's Global Patriot Solutions portfolio of air and missile defense technologies provides protection against a range of threats including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Upgraded and enhanced to leverage the latest technology, 13 nations depend on Patriot as the foundation for their defense. 

See related items:

US Government approves export of GaN-based AESA sensor for Patriot radar

Tags: Raytheon GaN MMIC Radar

Visit: www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/patriot

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