Thursday, 7 August 2003: 11:00 AM
Compact airborne solid-state 95 GHz FMCW radar system
For the past decade, airborne W-band cloud radars using kW-level klystron amplifiers have been applied to a variety of problems in atmospheric research. These systems provide high resolution (tens of meters in range and azimuth) and high sensitivity (on the order of -30 dBZ) measurements of clouds and precipitation with compact antennas suitable for airborne use. Recently, ProSensing Inc. has developed a low power solid state W-band radar that achieves comparable sensitivity (-25 dBZ at 1 km, 60 m range resolution) to the higher power systems. The radar, mounted in a fiberglass wing pod, weighs 36 kg and consumes less than 70 W to power the RF electronics. The millimeter-wave receiver, including LNA, homodyne I/Q detector, x6 LO generation and IF amplification, is packaged in a microwave integrated circuit weighing 120 grams. A real-time FPGA-based processor has been developed that computes pulse-pair velocity products and reflectivity for 256 range gates at up to 14 kHz PRF. The radar has continuously variable range resolution from 3-300 m and has a minimum range of approximately 20 m, where it achieves better than –45 dBZ sensitivity at 3 m range resolution. Engineering test flights of the radar were carried out in September, 2002, on the CIRPAS Twin Otter, with the first airborne experiments planned for the summer of 2003.