Futuristic technology enables 360-degree capability to proven Patriot platform
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., March 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The world’s newest missile defense radar is gearing up for a road trip. Raytheon Company [NYSE: RTN] funded, developed and built a new Gallium Nitride (GaN) powered Active Electronically Scanned Array main antenna for the combat-proven Patriot Air and Missile Defense System. Raytheon will exhibit its prototype Patriot full-scale, GaN-based AESA radar in the company’s booth at the Association of the United States Army’s Global Force Symposium and Exposition in Huntsville, Alabama, from March 15-17.
“We’re bringing Raytheon’s GaN-based AESA radar to AUSA so current and future Patriot customers, decision-makers and thought leaders can see first-hand Raytheon’s vision for the future of lower-tier air and missile defense,” said Ralph Acaba, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. “This milestone confirms that Raytheon can rapidly design, build, test and deliver a GaN-based AESA radar capable of defeating all threats.”
Raytheon’s GaN-based AESA main array is a critical step on the path to a GaN-based AESA radar with full 360-degree capability. In 2015, Raytheon demonstrated 360-degree capability with its GaN-based AESA pilot array. The new main AESA array is a bolt-on replacement for the current antenna, measuring roughly 9′ wide x 13′ tall and oriented toward the primary threat.
“Raytheon believes the GaN-based AESA radar is the next logical upgrade to keep Patriot ahead of emerging threats,” said Tim Glaeser, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense Business Development at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. “Patriot was designed to be continually upgraded, so in addition to AESA GaN technology, Raytheon has a robust, company-funded research and development pipeline which will ensure Patriot outpaces the evolving threat, even 20 to 30 years from now.”
Raytheon’s re-engineered Patriot radar prototype uses two key technologies – active electronically scanned array, which changes the way the radar searches the sky; and gallium nitride circuitry, which uses energy efficiently to amplify the radar’s high-power radio frequencies
Raytheon’s GaN-based AESA Patriot radar will work with future open architecture such as the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System. It retains backwards compatibility with the current Patriot Engagement Control Station and is fully interoperable with NATO.
The current Patriot radar uses a passive electronic scanning array radar. An AESA radar changes the way the Patriot radar searches the sky. Instead of shining a powerful, single transmitter through many lenses, the new array uses many smaller transmitters, each with its own control. The result is a system that is not only more flexible, with an adjustable beam for many different missions, but also more reliable; it still works even if some of the transmitters do not.
About Global Patriot Solutions
Raytheon’s Global Patriot Solutions is the most advanced portfolio of air and missile defense technologies in the world, providing comprehensive protection against a full range of advanced threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Patriot is continually upgraded and enhanced to leverage the latest technology. Thirteen nations depend on Patriot as the foundation for their defense.
Raytheon has been leading the innovation and development of GaN for 15 years and has invested more than $200 million to get this latest technology into the hands of the warfighter faster and at lower cost and risk. Raytheon has demonstrated the maturity of the technology in a number of ways, including exceeding the reliability requirement for insertion into the production of military systems.
Raytheon Company, with 2015 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 94 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5ITM products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. Visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @Raytheon.
SOURCE Raytheon Company
Mechanical engineer Kenneth Walsh Jr. inserts a GaN-based transmit-receive unit into the main radar array. Image @raytheon.com
A pair of power-ups
The Patriot upgrade draws its power from two key technologies.
- Active Electronically Scanned Array — This changes the way the Patriot radar searches the sky. Instead of shining a powerful, single transmitter through many lenses, the new array uses many smaller transmitters, each with its own control. The result is a system that is not only more flexible, with an adjustable beam for many different missions, but also more reliable; it still works even if some of the transmitters do not.
- Gallium Nitride: This is the material used to build the radar’s powerful new circuits. It is a powerful semiconductor that uses energy efficiently to amplify the radar’s high-power radio frequencies. Raytheon has spent more than 15 years and $200 million pioneering gallium nitride technology, and has built gallium nitride circuits for a number of products including jammers and other radars.
Eyes all around
The full-size radar is an important step on a path toward a Patriot system that can simultaneously see all 360 degrees of the battlefield.
Raytheon has designed a 360-degree radar that fits into the current configuration of the Patriot system. It includes the main array facing front and two smaller “quarter-panel” arrays facing the rear. Early testing of the design at Raytheon’s radar range in New Hampshire has been successful.
What makes that design possible is gallium nitride’s efficiency; with a traditional semiconductor, the same idea would require more parts and a much larger footprint. That would not only be harder to operate and maintain, but it would cost more too.
The new array is powerful, with the potential for even greater advances, but it remains true to the Patriot legacy — and can even be integrated into any of the more than 220 already-fielded systems that are owned by 13 countries around the world.
“Those years of experience are still captured in this radar, in this system as a whole,” said Theresa Avino-Manning, who led the team that produced the radar Raytheon will bring to the AUSA symposium. “We’ve upgraded all those parts, so we could take advantage of modern technology while still living within the tried-and-true footprint and operational system of Patriot.” Source raytheon.com
Raytheon – Patriot Air & Missile Defense System Evolution