Raytheon X-Band Polarimetric Phased-Array Radar: Weather Data Processing, First Look

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015
David L. Pepyne, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; and J. Trabal, F. Lok, P. Drake, T. J. Flynn, J. Clark, and A. P. Hopf

The Raytheon X-band Polarimetric Phased-Array Radar (RXPAR) is the world's first fully operational multi-function polarimetric phased-array radar.

Developed as a technology transfer collaboration between Raytheon and the NSF Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), the RXPAR is designed to meet or exceed the radar performance requirements for the next generation CONUS surveillance and weather needs in the form factor of a low-power, light weight, easy to deploy, completely solid state low-maintenance platform. As a candidate technology to provide the next generation FAA and NWS surveillance and weather capability, a network of RXPAR panels are able to provide rapid update target acquisition and tracking while simultaneously providing the full suite of co-polar and cross-polar weather variables via adaptive single and multi-Doppler scanning of detected weather volumes.

Since late 2013, experiments have been on-going to evaluate the RXPAR's aircraft detection and tracking, weather, and adaptive multi-functional weather and aircraft tracking performance. Included in these experiments is a small network of two overlapping RXPAR panels deployed 30km apart to the east of CASA's network testbed of mechanically scanned X-band radars in the Dallas Fort-Worth metroplex. This small RXPAR network is demonstrating the adaptive scanning capabilities of the RXPAR as well as its ability to integrate into existing weather radar networks (e.g., CASA's network), and weather decision support systems such as the NWS AWIPS platform.

After describing the vision an RXPAR deployment as a distributed multi-panel system operating as a single integrated instrument to mimic the behavior of a large long range radar but with the advantages of much lower coverage in altitude, higher-resolution, faster updates, and vector wind retrievals, this paper will present a first look at the RXPAR's polarimetric weather radar data products. A companion paper details the RXPAR hardware and system level design and gives a look at its aircraft tracking and aircraft wake vortex detection performance.