MIT Lincoln Laboratory wins R&D Editor's Choice Award

An innovative radar panel honored by R&D Magazine editors.


R&D 100 Awards logoLincoln Laboratory's Multifunction Phased Array Radar (MPAR) Panel technology was selected for an Editor's Choice Award at the R&D 100 Awards Banquet in Orlando, Florida, on 13 October 2011. The prestigious Editor's Choice Award recognizes three technologies among the year's 100 winners of R&D Magazine's R&D 100 Awards. Among the key criteria for a winning innovation are technological significance and ability to provide simple, elegant solutions to complex or long-standing problems.


The MPAR uses panels of phased arrays that exploit dual polarization and digital beamforming to provide efficient radar detection and tracking of aircraft and weather targets. The MPAR has no moving parts and electronically shapes and steers its radar beam. This variation from current civilian radar systems, which use rotating antennas, provides a beam agility that enables increased resolution and faster full-volume scan rates, as well as the ability for one radar unit to perform multiple weather and atmospheric surveillance tasks.


MPAR panelMPAR panel, front side.  For an illustration of MPAR operation, click here.

The MPAR's active electronically scanning phased-array antenna panel is the fundamental building block of an MPAR system. The phased-array panels function coherently to radiate and receive pulses of radar energy that are used to detect, locate, and track both aircraft and weather targets. MPAR can accomplish both types of surveillance modes by utilizing multiple simultaneous beam clusters that provide the flexibility to optimally manage the time and energy resources of the multimission system. One advantage of such flexibility is a reduction in the total number of ground-based radar sensors needed for weather and primary aircraft surveillance.

"The next generation of FAA radars will likely use active phased arrays to provide improved air safety and weather forecasting. The MPAR panel combines Department of Defense multifunction radar concepts with commercial wireless manufacturing techniques to meet performance and cost goals," says Lincoln Laboratory program manager Jeffrey Herd.

The developing team was given special recognition and a separate award at the end of the ceremony at the R&D 100 Awards Banquet. Under sponsorship of the FAA, the MPAR panel was jointly developed by Lincoln Laboratory and M/A-COM Technology Solutions. The developers from the Laboratory are members of the ISR and Tactical Systems and the Homeland Protection and Air Traffic Control Divisions, led by program manager Jeffrey Herd: Glenn Brigham, John Cho, David Conway, Sean Duffy, Sean Tobin, and Mark Weber. Team members from M/A-COM are Douglas Carlson, Christopher Weigand, and Daniel Curcio.



Posted October 2011

top of page