The world’s newest missile defense radar is gearing up for a road trip. Raytheon Company funded, developed and built a new Gallium Nitride (GaN) powered Active Electronically Scanned Array main antenna for the combat-proven Patriot Air and Missile Defense System. Raytheon will exhibit its prototype Patriot full-scale, GaN-based AESA radar in the company’s booth at the Association of the United States Army’s Global Force Symposium and Exposition in Huntsville, Alabama, from March 15-17.
“We’re bringing Raytheon’s GaN-based AESA radar to AUSA so current and future Patriot customers, decision-makers and thought leaders can see first-hand Raytheon’s vision for the future of lower-tier air and missile defense,” said Ralph Acaba, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. “This milestone confirms that Raytheon can rapidly design, build, test and deliver a GaN-based AESA radar capable of defeating all threats.”
Raytheon’s GaN-based AESA main array is a critical step on the path to a GaN-based AESA radar with full 360-degree capability. In 2015, Raytheon demonstrated 360-degree capability with its GaN-based AESA pilot array. The new main AESA array is a bolt-on replacement for the current antenna, measuring roughly 9′ wide x 13′ tall and oriented toward the primary threat
“Raytheon believes the GaN-based AESA radar is the next logical upgrade to keep Patriot ahead of emerging threats,” said Tim Glaeser, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense Business Development at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. “Patriot was designed to be continually upgraded, so in addition to AESA GaN technology, Raytheon has a robust, company-funded research and development pipeline which will ensure Patriot outpaces the evolving threat, even 20 to 30 years from now.”
Raytheon’s GaN-based AESA Patriot radar will work with future open architecture such as the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System. It retains backwards compatibility with the current Patriot Engagement Control Station and is fully interoperable with NATO.
The current Patriot radar uses a passive electronic scanning array radar. An AESA radar changes the way the Patriot radar searches the sky. Instead of shining a powerful, single transmitter through many lenses, the new array uses many smaller transmitters, each with its own control. The result is a system that is not only more flexible, with an adjustable beam for many different missions, but also more reliable; it still works even if some of the transmitters do not.