A “first look” was presented in 2015, introducing the LPR X-band technology as a candidate to provide the next generation FAA and NWS surveillance and weather capability through a network of LPR sites. As a distributed AESA X-band system, LPR enables 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.
Building on the two first generation prototypes (LPR-I) previously presented, Raytheon developed and manufactured six second generation (LPR-II) radars featuring greater performance, reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP), and enhanced processing capability. As a collaboration between Raytheon and the NSF Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) through the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass), Raytheon’s LPR product incorporates weather data processing technology developed through years of research of netted X-band weather radars, but adapted to utilize the advantages of AESA technology for rapid, dynamic updates of targets to meet multiple mission objectives. As such, LPR implements advanced surveillance and weather technology and offers the capability of providing ubiquitous coverage as a networked radar. Experiments in eastern Massachusetts, about 40 km west of Boston, of netted LPR sensors demonstrate the integration of LPR-II in a small, adaptive network using weather and targets of opportunity and provide a platform on which to further advance the technology for future generations of LPR products and technology.
After reintroducing the LPR vision of a distributed multi-panel X-band 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 provide an updated progress report of the weather processing in a distributed system using the latest generation of netted LPR technology deployed in eastern Massachusetts. Moreover, preliminary integration of X-band data into the NWS’ Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) and the FAA’s NextGen Weather Processor (NWP) is presented and the benefits discussed.