Command and control for multifunction phased array radar
October 1, 2017
We discuss the challenge of managing the Multifunction Phased Array Radar (MPAR) timeline to satisfy the requirements of its multiple missions, with a particular focus on weather surveillance. This command and control (C2) function partitions the available scan time among these missions, exploits opportunities to service multiple missions simultaneously, and utilizes techniques for increasing scan rate where feasible. After reviewing the candidate MPAR architectures and relevant previous research, we describe a specific C2 framework that is consistent with a demonstrated active array architecture using overlapped subarrays to realize multiple, concurrent receive beams. Analysis of recently articulated requirements for near-airport and national-scale aircraft surveillance indicates that with this architecture, 40–60% of the MPAR scan timeline would be available for the high-fidelity weather observations currently provided by the Weather Service Radar (WSR-88D) network. We show that an appropriate use of subarray generated concurrent receive beams, in concert with previously documented, complementary techniques to increase the weather scan rate, could enable MPAR to perform full weather volume scans at a rate of 1 per minute. Published observing system simulation experiments, human-in-the-loop studies and radar-data assimilation experiments indicate that high-quality weather radar observations at this rate may significantly improve the lead time and reliability of severe weather warnings relative to current observation capabilities.