Establishing a common architecture for radar systems

23rd November 2015
Posted By : Joe Bush
Establishing a common architecture for radar systems

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory (MIT LL) has selected the Scalable Planar ARray (SPAR) Tile technology, from M/A-COM Technology Solutions Holdings, for use in a test bed for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Arrays at the Commercial Timescale (ACT) programme.

DARPA’s ACT programme is designed to streamline development and manufacturing cycles for next generation radar, electronic warfare and communications systems by leveraging best practices established in the commercial domain. Working with MIT LL, MACOM will interface its SPAR Tiles with back-end electronics to explore new techniques for achieving new capabilities in digital phased arrays.

SPAR Tiles are RF assemblies containing antenna elements, GaAs and GaN semiconductors. They transmit and receive modules and RF and power distribution networks. When combined with additional signal generation and receive and control electronics, the composite assembly forms the building block for the MPAR planar active electronically scanned antenna (AESA) for the radar system.

SPAR Tiles enable the transition from cumbersome traditional brick architectures to a more efficient planar approach. By leveraging MACOM’s commercial manufacturing expertise, MACOM believes that SPAR Tiles will help drive cost efficiencies that are required to propel MPAR to mainstream adoption and deployment in the latter part of this decade.

“Working collaboratively with MIT Lincoln Laboratory, MACOM has played a leading role in advancing SPAR Tile technology to mainstream adoption,” said Dr Doug Carlson, Vice President, Strategy, MACOM. “We believe that the commercial manufacturing approaches taken in the implementation of SPAR Tiles are fully in line with DARPA’s ACT programme objectives. The interface of ACT technology with our tiles demonstrates a new approach to RF system implementation, which is anticipated to drive both shortened time to market and new levels of affordability while increasing overall system performance.”

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