87th AMS Annual Meeting

Wednesday, 17 January 2007: 1:45 PM
Multifunction Phased Array Radar: Technical Synopsis, Cost Implications and Operational Capabilities
217A (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Mark E. Weber, MIT, Lexington, MA; and J. Cho and J. Herd
Poster PDF (292.6 kB)
Current U.S. weather and aircraft surveillance radar networks vary in age from 10 to more than 40 years. Ongoing sustainment and upgrade programs can keep these networks operating in the near to mid term, but the responsible agencies (FAA, NWS and DoD/DHS) recognize that large-scale replacement activities must begin during the next decade. If critical technology costs decrease sufficiently, multi-function phased array radars might prove to be a cost effective alternative to current surveillance radars, since the number of required radars would be reduced, and maintenance and logistics infrastructure would be consolidated. In addition, enhanced surveillance capabilities would be realized – for example faster weather volume scans and the capability to estimate the height of aircraft targets.

This paper describes a multi-function phased array radar (MPAR) that provides terminal-area and long-range aircraft surveillance and weather measurement. A radar network configuration that replicates or exceeds current airspace coverage is presented. Key technology issues are examined, including transmit-receive elements, overlapped sub-arrays, the digital beamformer, and weather and aircraft post-processing algorithms. Cost implications are discussed based on preliminary MPAR “pre-prototype” development underway at Lincoln Laboratory (Herd et al., 2007). We conclude by discussing MPAR enhancements pertinent to future national weather and non-cooperative aircraft target surveillance needs.

“Preliminary Multifunction Phased Array Radar (MPAR) Preprototype Development”, Jeffrey Herd, Sean Duffy, Michael Vai, Frank Willwerth, Larry Retherford, 23rd Conference on Interactive Information Processing Systems, San Antonio, TX, 2007.

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