Low-Cost Phased Array Panel Technology

ABSAA PanelFigure 1. ABSAA panel.

The RF Technology Group is developing new approaches for lowering the cost of phased array antennas. A significant reduction in cost is obtained by utilizing a panel-based approach, whereby the TR modules, beamformers, power distribution network, and controls are integrated into a printed circuit board (PCB) assembly. This flat-panel approach removes the cost of expensive connectors and cables, and enables highly automated assembly and testing.

Two recent examples of panel-based phased arrays are shown. On the right (Figure 1) is the Airborne Sense and Avoid (ABSAA) radar panel, which operates at Ku band. Under funding from the Department of Homeland Security, the ABSAA radar was developed as risk reduction for future low-cost sense-and-avoid radars for unmanned aerial vehicles.

The photo below (Figure 2) shows the Multifunction Phased Array Radar (MPAR) panel, which operates at S band. Under funding from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the MPAR panel was developed as risk reduction for a future acquisition program of combined aircraft and weather surveillance radars for the national airspace.

MPAR panelFigure 2. MPAR panel.



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