by Richard Tomkins
Andover, Mass. (UPI) Feb 2, 2016
The main radar array of the Patriot Air and Missile Defense system is being upgraded by Raytheon for enhanced 360-degree coverage capability.
The enhancement comes through the use of a gallium nitride-, or GaN-based, Active Electronically Scanned Array technology. A full-size, main panel radar array prototype is being worked on and a prototype will be ready for testing this year, the company said.
"Raytheon has invested more than $150 million in GaN technology and learned invaluable lessons while building our GaN-based AESA full-scale prototype," said Ralph Acaba, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business. "This ensures Raytheon is able to rapidly develop, build, test and deliver a combat-ready GaN-based AESA radar that gives Patriot 360-degree capability."
Rytheon last year built a GaN-based AESA rear-panel array and integrated it with a radar for potential use with Patriot, using existing back-end processing hardware and software. The radar tracked targets of opportunity, leveraging a seamless 360-degree view.
"Raytheon's GaN-based AESA radar will outmatch future threats for the same reason today's Patriot is able to outmatch current threats -- because it is designed to be upgraded and we have a growth path for the system," said Tim Glaeser, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense Business Development at Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business.
The Raytheon GaN-based AESA radar uses three antenna arrays mounted on a mobile radar shelter. The main AESA array is a bolt-on replacement for the current Patriot antenna and is oriented toward the primary threat. The new rear panel looks behind and to the sides of the main array allow Patriot to engage threats in all directions.
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